Anti-violence rally renews passions in Fayetteville - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Anti-violence rally renews passions in Fayetteville

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - Community leaders and citizens gathered in front of the Cumberland County Courthouse Tuesday night for a rally against violence. The words from the speakers were emotional and moving and sometimes carried a feeling of desperation to improve Fayetteville. Those words also seemed to infuse a renewed sense of passion to not give up and to try to make a difference in the community.

"We have to stop with the guns. We have to stop with the violence,” said Felicia Jordan whose son Ravon was shot and killed in late June. “My son was at the wrong place at the wrong time."

The death of 19-year-old Ravon was a major reason city council member Larry Wright organized the rally. The shooting happened just around the corner from Wright's home, just a month and a half after Ravon had spoken up to city council about crime concerns.

"We are all responsible for the deaths in this city," commented Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock as he urged people to no longer accept it when their friends, even their family members carry illegal guns.

He promised that if people report those guns, officers would collect them – no questions asked.

"We're coming after all those criminals that want to carry guns and shoot innocent children and people in the street like you've lost your mind," said Wright.

Wright is also a preacher, and at times he let that side of him come out as he emoted from the lectern in front of the crowd. His words came with some harsh truths.

"The truth be told, it is black boys and black girls, black young men and black boys that are killing one another in our streets, and it's got to stop,” Wright said.

Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey urged everyone to take the rally as motivation to act. He said the words of the night were useless unless people left the rally ready to give their time and commitment to work with young people.

"How many of you are going to take time to volunteer and mentor a child?” Rey asked. “That's your charge. That's what's needed. That's what's missing."

Jordan added her own thoughts about the need to take action.

“If you’re here today and you don’t go out and fight for this, there’s really no purpose for being here,” she said.

Wright said he will be working with other government leaders to see if more intervention programs need to be improved or added to the Fayetteville area. He said he would be willing to fight for funding for those programs to get members of the community involved with young people.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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