NORFOLK, Va. — At least four people have died from gun violence in the City of Norfolk just this month, according to 13News Now records.
But, local activists are hoping their efforts will help curb the violence.
On Saturday, activists held the first annual Huntersville Peace Reunion to promote peace over violence in the Huntersville neighborhood.
“We supporting stop the violence,” said 11-year-old Keimya.
Clayton Marquez, the founder of the antiviolence group Guns Down, helped organize the peace reunion with the organization Huntersville Group.
Marquez said his goal is reaching the youth. He said he’s focusing on three specific neighborhoods in Norfolk: Huntersville, Young Terrace and Calvert Square.
“We talk to the children. We talk to those that are prone to violence,” Marquez explained.
Marquez said he uses his past as a tool to help others.
“I was once on the other side of the gun…By me going to prison, coming home and changing my life, I felt that by me having street credibility out here, that I could help make a change,” he said.
Preston Ballard with the Huntersville Group said this event is just the first step in helping curb the violence in the city.
“We understand the violence is not going to stop just like that. It’s what we do tomorrow. We want to continue to try to fight this violence and make sure that we have a better and safer community,” Ballard said.
The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore handed out 6,000 pounds of food to those who attended on Saturday.
Organizers hope to host this event every year.