Amid protests, activists call for change in neighborhoods to end gun violence

Amid protests, activists call for change in neighborhoods to end gun violence

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Sunday marked the sixth year in a row where community leaders have banded together and hosted a cookout with a mission: ‘To stop the violence and put the beef on the grill’.

In Louisville, there have been twice as many deaths compared to last year.

Gun violence has been running rampant throughout the city. Community activists say it’s more important now than ever to be here to feeding the mind, spirit and body to stop the violence.

“We have protest going on downtown against LMPD, meanwhile murders are still happening,” said Raven Sanders, who help organize the event.

He says violence has not eased up despite the pandemic and tensions during protests.

WAVE 3 News did a report earlier this month that cases involving gun violence have more than doubled compared to the first half of last year according to police data.

“To me its hypocritical,” Sanders said. “If we can’t take that same energy, against the police, and march on somebody when they unjustly kill someone else in the neighborhood.”

Sanders says there are Louisville families still feeling the pain and loss.

“Mothers and fathers are still making burial plans for their children,” Sanders said. “Stop the watering of the cemetery from tears, the fertilization of black bodies, any bodies period in the graveyards.”

Before transforming his life and starting his own barbecue and catering businesses – Red Barrel Barbecue, a younger Raven Sanders knew what its like to go down the wrong path.

“I was part of the problem out here in the streets,” Sanders said. “That’s why I feel obligated to be part of the solution.”

Part of that solution, includes bringing families to the table, feeding the people with barbecue and food for thought; as he knows from first-hand experience. To see a change, conversations have to start at home.

Dennisha Rivers, founder of Vision of Life Ministries has been advocating for change too. The non-profit organization helps families in low income areas. As a community activist, she reflects the people she helps and know more work needs to be done.

“On a personal level, I’ve been affected by gun violence. A lot of us have,” Rivers said. “It is something that doesn’t have a name or face, violence effects us all. "

She says those who are killed by gunfire, have a name, a face and a story - cut short.

Click or tap here to learn more about the ‘Stop the Violence Put the Beef on the Grill’ event and its mission.

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