My Brother's Keeper sets 12-hour gathering to bring police and community together

Local group focused on ending violence gathers in open discussion in Lynchburg

LYNCHBURG, Va. – For the first time, organizers of the My Brother's Keeper set an all-day gathering Saturday with the hope to bring the community closer together.

Brenda Moss lost her son from gun violence in 2014.  

She came to Miller Park in hopes of bringing unity to her community.

“Tragedy is just that. It's unexpected. You have to work through it,” Moss said.

Moss was among dozens of Lynchburg residents who gathered Saturday in the Hill City.  

“It means that somebody really wants to see something different,” Moss said.

For twelve hours, residents came by the community gathering, as did officers from the Lynchburg Police Department who were invited to attend.

Deputy Chief Ryan Zuidema said it’s important to talk with city residents one-on-one.

“At the end of the day, it's all about relationships. We need to know the community and we need to know the people that we serve. The other side of that is they need to know the police officers, too. They need to see past the uniform and past the badge. They need to realize we're human beings just like they are. At the end of the day we're going to be successful when we work together,” Zuidema said.

Organizer James Waters shared his experience in prison, hoping to inspire others to never give up on their life endeavors.

“I've done 24 years in prison and it was a rough journey. I educated myself. I helped with this organization so I can show these guys there's life and success after prison,” Waters said.

My Brother's Keeper hopes to have more gatherings like this one in the future.