HANAHAN, S.C. (WCBD) – Local activists and organizations honored the victims and survivors of the back-to-back mass shootings through music Wednesday night.
Spearheaded by community activist, Pastor Thomas Dixon and Lowcountry Hispanic activist, Lydia Cotton, several organizations participated in The Sound of Drums Against Crime Event.
“Music is powerful because when it comes to the African-American community it has so many messages it has so much history,” Cotton said. “It’s so close to how we feel about it that it is important for us the Latino population to follow that lead.”
Puertorriqueños en Charleston, SC, Círculo Hispanoamericano de Charleston, Comunidad Latina/Hispania SC, Brady, Moms Demand Action SC, We Are Their Voices, Parents Against Gun Violence Charleston, Lowcountry Students for Political Action, SC Brady and The Coalition participated. Local police, fire and EMS crews attended, local leaders and the community. They all immersed themselves in the Latino and African-American drummers who joined together for peace.
“Tonight was simply amazing by the way the cultures melted together and used music and art to express themselves,” Jackie Shelley, SC leader with Moms Demand Action said.
“We are just sharing and having fun together,” Vannessa Gongora, Regional Project Director with Mi Ma Letín said. “ I think it’s a great way to relieve stress and remind us that we are all one.”
The event was in the wake of the back-to-back mass shootings that killed 31 and injured more than 50 in a matter of 13 hours. The first mass shooting took place in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas that killed 22 members of the Hispanic community and injured more than two dozen more. Wednesday, the Lowcountry gathered to support the Latino community.
“Now we are in the spotlight for many reasons that we should not be,” Cotton said. “We have to come together, something has to change.”
Dixon said he is fighting for gun reform and said he wants to keep the Lowcountry safe.
“The fact that there are so many guns on the street and people who have guns in their heart is unfounded,” Dixon said.
North Charleston’s Mayor Keith Summey also attended Wednesday. He stressed the importance of unity and safety.
“What happened here was a long ways away but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen here tomorrow,” Summey said.
With such a diverse group, they hope their messages of unity, equality and gun reform resonates with the Lowcountry and beyond.