'Call for Unity' aims to address community violence in Columbus

'Call for Unity' aims to address community violence in Columbus

Columbus, GA (WTVM) - Violence in the Valley, along with recent turmoil in the U.S., is still fresh on the minds of Chattahoochee Valley residents. 

"My child could be next," said guest speaker and minister Gabriel Harrison about the dangers the community faces. "You could be next," he added. 

That fear of violence in the community rallied a group of concerned citizens to the first ever '706 Call for Unity.' 

Jerome Lawson, another guest speaker at the meeting, knows firsthand the pain of losing loved ones to gun violence. 

Lawson lost two cousins; Kenneth Holloway was shot and killed June 18. Holloway's brother, Terry Cobb, was then shot and killed within three weeks of his brother's murder. 
"If we don't collectively come together, under the perspective of unity, then we're going to continually, individually die," said Lawson.

The key moment for event leaders, like Ti'meca Williams,  came when those gathered were asked to stand in line to see their reflections inside a casket - to remind them of the value of life. 

Williams said she wants to emphasize the need for all lives to come together and work to find solutions. 

"When we say unity for the community, we mean as a whole," she said.  "It doesn't matter. Race, creed, color, religion, we all have to unite."

The first step, for Harrison, is to change the mindset of citizens to look out for one another in every situation.

"We all need to be major and not minor," Harrison said. "Not find minor solutions to major problems." 

Beyond that, Lawson said, people have to invest their time and resources in educating the next generation to reject violence of any type.  

"We're standing in the gap, and we ask for the support of the community, not just monetary, but be involved. Participate, we need that type of support," he said.

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