NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A Newport News mother is taking her crusade to the streets.
“We have lost a lot of lives on those streets, a lot of lives” Collena Wells said.
Wells’ son was stabbed and killed off Marshall Avenue in Newport News October 1, 2014. Taiwo Douglas-Wells was 19-years-old when he died. The stabbing happened in a parking lot behind Newsome Park Elementary School.
At the end of March, police arrested 21-year-old Antwon Robertson and charged him with one count of first-degree murder and use of a knife in the commission of a felony.
“It made me realize that, once it happens to you, it’s not just your problem, it’s everybody’s problem,” Wells said about youth violence. “It’s the community’s problem.”
Wells said she knows she is not the only mother or parent in the community who has lost a child to violence.
“The hurt, the pain, the tears,” Wells said. “I’m no different from them. I just want them to stand up and walk with me. That’s all I’m asking.”
With the help of Lighthouse Outreach Inc., Wells is organizing a March through the Marshall Courts neighborhood on Saturday, May 23. She’s calling it the “Million Mom March Against Murder,” and asking everyone in the community who is concerned about violence to join her.
Wells said she is expecting a large turnout Saturday afternoon.
“I have had a lot of people reach out to me, and it’s been amazing,” Wells said.
“We certainly want everyone that can be affected, or has been affected, to participate,” said Pamela Person, who is the program coordinator for Lighthouse Outreach Inc.
“It doesn’t just stop with the march. It starts with the march,” Wells said. “And what we want to do is create relationships with other people that are there, to come together and collaborate on what can be done after the march.”
Wells and Lighthouse Outreach are looking for more participants and volunteers to take part in Saturday’s march. Participants do not need to register. They can show up at the Marshall Avenue Boys and Girls Club at 11:30 a.m. May 23. The first 50 participants will get a free t-shirt.
Anyone who is interested in helping with the march can contact Pamela Person at (757) 827-7787.