HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A rally to end youth gun violence and bullying was held Thursday at Hampton City Hall. The event fell on National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
The Hampton Council PTA organized the event, which featured several city leaders, singers and dancers.
Mayor George Wallace and Councilman Will Moffett both spoke Thursday, as did 20-year-old Hampton University student, Ja’Rae Bolton.
“You have to have passion and a grass roots mentality,” said Bolton. “It takes you to leave your suit at home, and to go to where they are.”
Bolton was speaking about the young people in the community who are threatened by, or might turn to gun violence. She spoke at the rally on Thursday as someone who lost several high school classmates to gun violence.
“We all thought that we would be graduating together,” said Bolton. “We’d be here together in college, talking about our children. But, not all of us were afforded that opportunity.”
The rally was coincidentally held one day after a 19-year-old man was shot and killed in Hampton.
“One homicide is too many,” Moffett told WAVY.com after the event.
“It’s going to take the entire village to come up with solutions and action plans to work together,” said Moffett. “I believe we can do that.”
Moffett said he would like to see a goal of reducing violence added to the city’s action plan. He plans to propose that in the near future.