CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46) – Non-profit, Heal Charlotte, rallied the city Saturday for Stop the Violence Day.
The event happened from 10 am to 5 pm at Spirit Square, featuring guest speakers, music, dance, and panel discussions.
Heal Charlotte’s founder, Greg Jackson said the goal is to bring all players to the table to come up with solutions.
“41% of those homicides are young black men, killing young black men from the ages of 18 to 24, so we wanted to do something that put us in the forefront of saying we want to lead this conversation.”
Jackson added that the conversation needs to happen now with the next generation.
“The kids need to see that there are positive people out there in the world that look like them, talk like them, are from the same neighborhood as them, and we speak positivity. We speak productivity, we speak being the best citizens, the best people that you could possibly be,” Jackson said.
Mayor Vi Lyles kicked off the event with a speech and moment of silence to remember the cities victims of gun violence and their families.
She said that there have been at least 50 homicides in the city so far this year, many the result of retaliation.
“We’ve found that in our hospital-based Violence Interruption Program, where young people come in to the hospital, they’ve been shot or stabbed, that they are more likely to come back in and 20% of those will die,” she said.
It’s why business owners like Howard Glover want to step in and bridge the gap between school and home.
“When you leave the gang violence, the void has to be filled with something,” Glover said. “What is it going to be filled with?”
He thinks sports and mentoring programs like his urban youth development program Hard Grinderz can teach life skills through archery.
“You can really work on the skills like mental focus, the concentration, the slowing down the being patient, the process of the sport,” Glover said.
His organization was one of several others at the Stop the Violence event.
Jackson said by bringing various speakers, businesses, and other groups into the mix, they can truly make an impact.
“Everyone is part of the mission of stopping the violence. Our motto here at Heal Charlotte is if everybody does a little bit, nobody has to do a lot.”
CMPD Chief John Jennings also participated in a panel discussion regarding gun violence at the event.