Citizens urged to stop, think, walk on gun violence Featured

For former Drew resident Kenwuan Meeks inaction was not an option when it comes to stopping gun violence. "About a year ago a young man passed away in our town. My sister came to me and said 'we need to do something about this.’ I immediately started a Facebook page and we had a lot of people who reached out to us. They were either victims of gun violence themselves or had lost friends and loved ones to gun violence," said Meeks. Meeks, his sister Tamika, and their friend Deavida Johnson decided they should organize an event to help raise awareness about gun violence. That event was the first Southern Gun Violence Awareness Walk. "This will be our second year and we hope to make this an annual event. I've moved to Atlanta but I am coming back because this is something that is really important to me. We aren't looking for pledges or donations; this has nothing to do with money. “We understand that by walking we can't bring back anybody you have lost or heal any physical injuries you may have. What we can do is get together as a community, raise awareness and show our support for one another," said Meeks. The event is more that just a walk. It is also an opportunity for community members to learn about causes of, and solutions to, the problem. "We have guest speakers who will be talking about stress, depression and anxiety because we know based on numerous studies that those are major factors in many cases of gun violence. We want people to know that they have options that do not involve hurting themselves or someone else. We also want them to know where they can go to get help," Meeks said. One of the speakers for the event will be Kierre Rimmer with the nonprofit group FLY Zone in Cleveland. "Mr. Meeks invited me to speak because this is a subject that I am passionate about. In 2013 our organization did a community prayer walk to promote Stop the Violence. We talk about anti-violence a lot with our students. I partner with different schools in the area and speak with young people. I always teach them that violence should never be the answer to a problem they are having," said Rimmer. Visitors and participants in the walk will also have the chance to talk to those in attendance. "We are trying to get people of all of the communities to come out and raise awareness about gun violence. A lot of people who came last year were relieved to know that others were going through the same thing. We will provide an opportunity for those interested to speak out, share their experiences and talk about people they have lost," said Meeks. "It's an honor to be able to use my voice to speak to mothers and victims of gun violence, but other people have to stand us as well. Sometimes that's what it takes. We need people right here in our own towns that get involved because it makes it personal. It's not just someone from Jackson or Memphis speaking to them and it shows them that people in their communities care about what is going on," Rimmer said. Meeks' motto for the event is 'stop, think and walk'. "We want to encourage people to just take a break and walk away from the situation before it escalates into violence. We want to get as many people as possible be involved in this event so we can begin to make a change in this situation in our state and our country," said Meeks. The Southern Gun Violence Awareness Walk will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday in Drew. For more information visit the event Facebook page at Southern Gun Violence Awareness Walk. Those interested may also contact Meeks via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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