DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A call to stop the violence through prayer.
Friday, Durham city leaders, county commissioners and members of the community held a prayer vigil in front of the bull statue in Downtown Durham.
Mayor Pro Tempore, Mark-Anthony Middleton, told leaders he wants to address crime among Durham’s youth.
“Our children’s blood is being spilled in our streets. The blood of our elders is being spilled in our streets,” Middleton said. “We gather at high noon to ask, what will our response be?”
All this comes as Durham is seeing an uptick in shootings.
Earlier this week, the Durham Police Department responded to a 19-year-old gunned down on Highway 15-501.
Additionally, Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews told the crowd she came out today to not only speak as police chief, but as a mother of a teen.
“I have conversations with him about what to do when he’s stopped by a police officer, and now I’m having to have conversations with him about gun violence,” Andrews said.
Furthermore, Durham County Commissioner, Brenda Howerton, lost two of her kids to gun violence.
“Woke up one morning and got that call of not once but twice for college children, college young boys, gunned down, murdered. Let me tell you… that pain and trauma never, never goes away,” Howerton said. “It walked in my door. Twice. Both kids in college and it walked in my door. If you don’t think it will walk in your door, keep sitting by and pretend it’s not happening.”
Finding solutions is something faith leaders such as Donald Gregory Ceres, the Pastor of Peace Missionary Baptist Church, are hoping for.
“This is a time in which we all have to get through this together and if we can somehow figure out how to address those underlying issues I think we can begin to address the issues of gun violence,” Ceres said.
Leaders said they hope this prayer vigil will serve as a signal to the community that this is a community effort and it’s up to the community to stop the violence.