‘Put the guns down:’ Charlotte community, faith leaders hold prayer vigil sharing message of non-violence

Activists call for end to violence

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Hovis Road has been the site of two shootings this week, but on Friday it was a domain for prayer and a rallying cry against the violence.

“Somebody say enough is enough,” said Kevin Newman with New Outreach Christian Center.

Friday’s prayer vigil was held to support families affected by gun violence and have conversations with neighbors about intervention.

Chandra Brown marched through the neighborhood praying and singing with faith leaders and the community nonviolence organization Take Back our H.O.O.D.S.

Her granddaughter Zionna was shot on Marbles Street on Tuesday. Brown says the seven-year-old Tik Toker is healing and getting better.

Marquita Streeter’s 15-year-old son was shot on Hovis Road on Tuesday just a few hours before the shooting on Marbles Street. A 14-year-old boy was shot in that same shooting. Both teens are expected to be okay.

His mother is telling people to stop the violence and turn their problems over to God instead of choosing to harm one another.

“We’ve got to stop this y’all, we’ve got to come together. It’s too many of us leaving here behind senseless violence,” Streeter said.

Take Back Our H.O.O.D.S founder Lucille Puckett says there needs to be a proactive approach to nonviolence and it starts with going door to door.

Puckett led the march through the different streets and handed out prayer cloths to people in the area.

“Unless we actually get out here and come together in our community is going to be done. We’re going to continue to see more and more of our young people losing their lives not just to the streets, but to the penal system,” Puckett said.

Just this week alone, Mecklenburg County’s 24/7 hotline “Mobile CriSyS” received four calls through its Community Policing Crisis Response team and Community Based Mobile Response team related to the shootings.

Mobile CriSyS’ president Keshia Ginn says their clinicians provide emotional support to families on scenes and days after.

“A lot of it just being there to support and leaving our information so when individuals are in a space where they can actually begin to process what has happened, that they know that we’re available,” Ginn said.

Mobile CriSyS has a team of licensed clinicians that provide safety assessments and a crisis safety plan. They also offer grief support and comfort families at hospitals.

Through every prayer, song, and conversation - both faith and community leaders want this message to be clear.

“We need to teach our children to put the guns down,” Puckett said.

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