2014-03-26 / Front Page

TEENS WITH GUNS

Volunteers plead for help in anti-violence initiative
By Elizabeth Billips

Too many guns. Too much violence.

Too many teenagers going to jail or into the ground.

A group of volunteers, pastors and local leaders is primed to do something about it.

They are searching for other concerned community members to help develop a Community Action Initiative Plan and quickly put it to work.

“This is not about pointing fingers, blame shifting or fault finding,” said Kenya Sullivan- Crumbley, founder of the youth program BRIDGE (Building Responsible Individuals – Developing Great Examples). “This is about action.”

The first meeting is set for April 12 at Thomas Grove Baptist Church in Waynesboro, and the community at large is asked to attend.

Among those who will be there is Waynesboro Vice- Mayor Herman Brown, who is helping organize the event along with BRIDGE volunteers and Burke County BOE member Larry Preston.

While the meeting was spurred by a March 16 gunfight at a teen party that injured five people, Brown believes the problem is deepseated.

“This is nothing new…it’s an old problem that has just come back to the forefront,” he said. “Over the years, we’ve had many tragedies … tragedies we could have prevented if we’d had more stability in the households, as well as in the community.”

He referenced last week’s True Citizen which included not only stories about the shooting and a subsequent gang-related fight that spilled over into the high school, but an article about a 21-year-old who was sentenced to 20 years for his involvement in the fatal 2010 shooting of a 14- year-old.

“We can’t blame it all on the parents – it’s the community as a whole. We have been turning our backs on the things we see even when we know we could make a difference,” Brown said. “If we don’t do something to change the mindsets of these teenagers soon, they will all be in the graveyard or they will be in prison.”

He hopes the call for help will be answered by many, including young ministers and residents who have ideas about intervention and outreach programs.

Sullivan- Crumbley, who founded one such program herself, hopes so too.

“The community has talked too long about the problem instead of dealing with it,” she said. “We are truly crying out for help to save our young people … for the safety of all our families and the residents of Burke County.”

BE THERE

Call for Action
10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, April 12
Parent & Teen Summit
For youth ages 13-19
10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, May 17
Both events will be held at Thomas
Grove Baptist Church, across from
the West Sixth Street park in
Waynesboro. For more information,
contact Sullivan-Crumbley at 706-
551-1712, Pastor Lydell Daniels at
706-871-2738, Brown at 705-554-
8000 or Preston at 706-533-3323.

MARCH AGAINST VIOLENCE

Volunteers are asked to gather for an anti-violence march in Waynesboro this Saturday, March 29. The march begins at 5 p.m. on Ninth Street, across from Thankful Baptist Church. It will proceed down Washington Drive and end at New Day Ministries on Ward Street, just down from the site where 14-year-old John Preston Jr. was fatally shot in 2010 during a gunfight between two large groups of teens.

Return to top