LOC: End gun violence, gang activity

Photo by Alphonso Abbott Jr.- Members of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) connect with Damon Davis on Rich Avenue during the citywide gun violence and gang truce started by the LOC on Saturday, July 1.

LOC: End gun violence,  gang activity
July 06
05:00 2017

Less than 24 hours after four people were shot in the 2000 block of Patria Street, more than a dozen people took to the streets to call for an end to all gun violence and gang activity in the community .

Just after midnight on Saturday, July 1, police responded to a pair of shootings at 2824 and 2830 Partia St. At the scene, police found Darnell Ruth, Candice Venable, Dalton Valentine and Jamie Blackmon suffering from gunshot wounds.

All four victims were treated for non-life threatening injuries and released from a local hospital.

Police believe the shooting was in response to a neighborhood dispute between two groups of individuals. While police haven’t mentioned “gangs” in any reports, “neighborhood disputes” seem to be on the rise in the Twin City. During the public safety news conference last month, Detective Michael Ognosky said the March 27 murder of 19-year-old LaDawn Morgan, who was shot and killed while visiting friends on Rich Avenue, stemmed from a “neighborhood dispute” as well.

While the Winston-Salem Police Department called for help finding the suspects responsible in both shootings from behind a podium, members of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), and other local neighborhood organizations hit the streets of some of the city’s most troublesome  neighborhoods to find answers and extinguish any bad blood that may result to more shootings or loss of life   

Just before leading a group of volunteers down the street where Morgan was gun downed,  Effrainguan Muhammad, a member of the LOC Ministry of Defense, said, the purpose of the citywide gun violence and gang truce is to inspire people to get involved.

“If they know there is a group of individuals who are trying to stand up and make this community a better place, others will be willing to get involved,” said Muhammad. “We have to learn to police ourselves and look out for each other.”

Muhammad said the ideal plan would be to stand between the guns, gangs and violence and set up conflict resolution centers in the neighborhoods that need them most . The LOC has established the “Squash the Beef” hotline designed to put an end to disputes before they become violent.

“We want to mediate that beef before it gets out of hand and needs mediation downtown, which generally leads to someone being incarcerated or worse,” he continued.“That’s our goal, to let the community know that we’re calling for a moratorium on gun violence and to encourage a gang truce and treaty.”

While connecting with children and adults while walking around East Winston on last weekend, Willette Nash, who works for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, said she felt like it was her duty  to make a difference in the community she was raised in. She said a peaceful, and helpful community can go a long way to help performance in school.

“I understand the need to have peaceful, helpful communities so children can be free of stress,” said Nash. “Being out here today is a part of my commitment to school and community relations. I just think healthy communities make for healthy schools.”

Throughout the July 4th weekend, members of the LOC also made stops and knocked on doors in the Cleveland Avenue Neighborhood, Piedmont Circle Apartments, and countless other places. After meeting with a group of LOC members outside his home on Cameron Avenue, Kenneth Duff said he was glad to see people out in the community pushing for change.

“This is exactly what this neighborhood needs,” said Duff. “We have to come together to take care of our own. That’s the only way we will make this a better place for us all, by putting the guns down and working together.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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