DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham activists came together Thursday on the 51st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination to call for an end to gun violence.
“We’re here saying stop killing us, enough is enough,” said Rev. Curtis Gatewood, founder of “Stop Killing Us.”
According to Durham police, there were 32 homicides across the city last year.
So far in 2019, there have been 14.
If the average number of homicides per month continues this year, the city will see 42 homicides, the same as 2016.
Thursday’s meeting addressing gun violence comes one day after a man was shot multiple times in front of the Durham County courthouse.
Police tell CBS 17 an argument led to the shooting.
“Men seem to falsely believe that that makes them a man,” said Gatewood. “So you get into an argument, you have your gun, or you go to your car and get your gun.”
Activists said it’s time for a change. While they believe legislative bills on gun control could help, they said there’s work to be done now.
“Had there been one person, maybe who saw the situation escalating and stopped in to try to de-escalate, if we had law-enforcement officers who were trained and de-escalation tactics, maybe some of these situations wouldn’t happen the way they do,” said activist Dawn Blagrove.
She said everyone has a responsibility to look after each other.
“What’s more important is that we re-embrace the concept of being our brother’s and sister’s keeper,” Blagrove said.
Honoring the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gatewood said King’s message is still alive 51 years later.
“You can be great,” Gatewood said. “Dr. King said it best, you can be great because you can serve.”
Gatewood said his message is not targeting one group of individuals, instead it’s a message for everyone to do their part.