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Community urged to be part of solution at 'Stop the Violence' forum

Rallying cries for the violence to stop in Hampton Roads also include loud calls for community action.

NORFOLK, Va. — Grassroots leaders and the City of Norfolk's top law enforcement gathered to brainstorm solutions and collaborate with a goal to "stop the violence."

The gathering Saturday evening came on the heels of a shooting that left three women dead and two others hurt on November 3.

Stop the Violence Team partnered with the Salvation Army Kroc Center to make the forum possible. 

"The community leaders, the community groups, we all need help for the future of the little ones," said Bilal Muhammad with Stop the Violence Team. 

A focus on the youth took center stage at this discussion.

"The child is only a reflection of the adult," said Abdul Mulie with Community United of Focus. 

"What we need to do is come together as a community, watch out for each other's children," said Clayton Marquez with Stop the Violence Guns Down. "Once you pull the trigger, that's it. There are no do-overs.”

Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone also brought attention to one pressing issue.

"That is what's driving our crime. We have to stop the flow of illegal guns," said Chief Boone. 

He touted his department's efforts by saying they've recovered more than 4,000 illegal guns in the four years he's been chief.

Boone said illegal guns are systematically making it to Black and brown communities.

Boone also mentioned that his department is working with the FBI, DEA and ATF to further curb crime in the city.

The city's leaders recognize violent crime, like shootings and domestic abuse, are byproducts of the same root causes.

"Which are poverty, homelessness, substance use disorder, the mental illness," Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney-Elect Ramin Fatehi. 

And while issues with crime are certainly not unique to Norfolk, community groups and grassroots organizers encourage everyone to take action.

"Each of us here has the power to do something about it. And that is our vote, our dollars, our God and our love," Geri Collins with the We Matter Group. 

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