We stand here in a state of solidarity’ | Atlanta community calls for peace after rash of gun violence

The group’s message included people needing to come together, supporting each other, and talking about their issues instead of turning to guns.

ATLANTA — A group of anti-violence organizations came together Sunday trying to give people resources and support amid a rash of gun violence in metro Atlanta.

The event happened close to a location where two people were shot in July. The group’s message included people needing to come together, supporting each other, and talking about their issues instead of turning to guns.

The summer heat sizzled outside Memezz Soul Food Restaurant. Owner Cynthia Douglas opened the business in 2014, but as time has gone on, she’s seen violence in the area go up. 

We just need to help the people of the community,” Douglas said.

H.O.P.E. Hustlers decided to take action to educate the community on how to stay safe.

“We are having a community mobilization event to combat the recent traumatic event that happened here on MLK at the Citgo,” said Chetara Alexander, with H.O.P.E. Hustlers  

The traumatic event happened in July when who people got shot at that Citgo, which happened to be next to Douglas’ restaurant. 

“This is a peaceful thing that I got going on right here in front of my restaurant today,” Douglas said.

About half a dozen community organizations tried to help find a solution to gun violence, whether it’s at that Citgo or in Atlanta’s Fourth Ward. That’s where 7-year-old Ava Phillips was fatally shot late Saturday evening. 

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“The H.O.P.E. Hustlers came out here today so we can give out some help to the community, some resources to help the community with mental illness, with GEDs,” Douglas said.

Quality Communities also attended the event and have a strong message about gun violence. 

“You have to go to the root of the problem. It’s a lack of money everybody wants some money. It starts from there, and then you’ve got guys coming out here who don’t have nothing going on, who don’t have any money, so they’re just miserable,” said Oronde Sinkfield, founder of Quality Communities.

“We’re hoping to show the community we stand here in a state of solidarity with you,” Alexander said. “There should be gun safety laws that should be enacted and put into place.”

A part of that safety included a “Stop the Bleed” demonstration where people learned what to do if they see someone with a gunshot wound. 

“We have to learn how to take 10 before we make a decision on shooting or killing each other or robbing each other,” Douglas said. “It starts with us. We’re hurting ourselves. We are hurting each other, and we have to start standing together.”

Another reason people came out is to support Douglas’ restaurant. Local politicians and some people who live nearby have called for the Citgo to shut down. 

Douglas said since her building is attached to Citgo’s convenience store, that would mean her business would have to close as well. That’s not something she can afford as a single mother.



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