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Rally Up W-S hits the streets 

Asia Burrell (left) and Artisha Tyson (right) during the rally and vigil last weekend hosted by Rally Up Winston-Salem.

Rally Up W-S hits the streets 
May 11
16:11 2022

Grassroots organization holds rally to call for end to gun violence

Since 2018 Rally Up Winston-Salem, a local grassroots organization geared toward ending street and gang violence, has done its part to make Winston-Salem a safer place. And at a place in time where gun violence is at an all time high, last weekend members of the organization took to the streets to call for the violence to stop.

To date there have been 17 reported homicides in Winston-Salem, compared to only nine in the same time frame last year. To draw attention to the rise in homicides and other violent crimes, on Saturday Corey McCain and Richard Singletary, founding members of Rally Up, led a rally and vigil in the heart of East Winston. “We just wanted to honor those who lost loved ones to senseless violence and street violence. We want their voices to be heard,” McCann said.

During the rally, Artisha Tyson, who is also a member of Rally Up, said she decided to join the organization because she was tired of the bloodshed and wanted to do something about it. Tyson, who is originally from the area, said when she left the area 10 years ago, things weren’t this bad.

“I just wanted to see change,” Tyson continued. “When I left Winston-Salem the violence wasn’t this bad, it wasn’t homicides happening like this all the time. And to come back and see my city, my family, my neighbors, have to deal with the deaths and crime, it was devastating to me  and that’s why I joined Rally Up.

“My mom always taught me to be of service and so when I had an opportunity to join a group that was fighting something that was close to my heart, I felt encouraged to join.”

Asia Burrell was encouraged enough to drive from Salisbury to take part in the rally and vigil last weekend.

Burrell said she understands what this community is going through. She said street violence was one of the reasons she relocated from New Jersey to North Carolina.

“I understand what’s going on in this community because I saw it all when I was in New Jersey … my grandmother was one of the first members of the Crime Watch,” Burrell continued. “’I’m a teacher as well and it’s all connected. It’s a cycle and it has to be broken and we as a people have to do it ourselves. We can’t rely on other groups and organizations to help us; we have to do it ourselves.”

Due to the pandemic, like many organizations Rally Up was forced to halt all scheduled meetings and other events. Before the pandemic Rally Up held open meetings with community stakeholders twice a month to discuss strategies to stop the violence in the community, specifically violence that involved young people. Now that mask mandates and gathering restrictions have been lifted, Singletary said he’s ready to get back to work.

“It’s been tough over the past two years, but we’re ready to get back out there,” Singletary said.

Rally Up Winston-Salem holds open meetings the 1st and 3rd Thursdays every month at Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center and the Piedmont Park Community Center. For more information, visit “Rally Up Winston-Salem” on Facebook.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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