West Point community works together to stop gun violence
After a recent increase in gun violence in West Point, community members are stepping up to have difficult discussions about the issue.
WEST POINT, MS. (WCBI) – After a recent increase in gun violence in West Point, community members are stepping up to have difficult discussions about the issue.
The “Breaking the Trend” discussion was held at the Cinnamon Club.
West Point community members gathered on Saturday to discuss gun violence in the city. Plans for the event began after two fatal shootings occurred in mid-January, resulting in the death of a 14-year-old.
Sylvester Adams came up with the idea for this discussion. He said he wants to be able to reach West Point’s youth.
“I was always told anytime you have a problem you start at the source and the source is with the young kid, we want to talk with the young kids. Because it has to start at home. Once it starts at home, we get the parents to support us and we support the parents, we support the kids and it will build change,” Adams said.
And he brought on Lorenzo Wisdom and their class of ’96 to help.
“We want to let the youth know that we do care and you do have someone that you can call, even if it is me. Random. Midnight. I don’t care. You having thoughts. You want to do something bad. Reach out to me. I just want to help and show them a different way,” Wisdom said.
As for Wisdom, this mission is personal.
“I’ve been on both sides of a gun. I have actually been to prison and I feel like this is a purpose. I am not afraid of the youth, I love them and I want to show them that I care and am compassionate about them so I want to show them that you do not have to go to jail or get killed to feel like you are successful, you have made it, you on a tee shirt. You can make it you can do something great with your life and that is what this event is about,” Wisdom said.
A variety of speakers attended the event. From local political leaders to athletes.
MSU turned NFL offensive tackle Scott Lashley was one of the speakers. He encouraged the community to grow and heal.
“One thing I would like to do, and this is going to be a challenge to people. I would like for more athletes, you do not have to be a professional, I would like for more men to therefore take the necessary steps to heal yourself, but also therefore, that would heal the community within itself. It takes one person at a time. Before we heal the world, we must heal ourselves. So it is going to take uncomfortables, like I tell my athletes, being uncomfortable is how growth happens,” Lashley said.
The organizers hope as they continue to have more conversations like this in the future, more families and community members will join them.