NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — It's been two days since a teenager died in a shooting after a basketball game at Menchville High School, and families in Newport News are calling for change. News 3 spoke with a member of the Newport News School Board who's taking action by organizing a march.
"It's been several shootings; it's been several homicides; it's also been several incidents with youth feeling not safe as far as mental health," said John Eley. "So, I wanted to have the opportunity to have a march."
Eley is calling it the "Save Our Children Community March" to show unity and fight for change. He said this is an opportunity for everyone to come together to discuss concerns, but more importantly, to lean on one another.
"This event Saturday is for everyone to come together," Eley said. "It's a time for us to pray; a time for us to heal; a time for us to communicate; a time for us to talk; a time for us to come up with a solution to the incidents with violence, not only through Newport News, but throughout the whole Hampton Roads area."
School leaders said it's not about what someone is doing wrong or right — it's about families coming together to come up with solutions to stop gun violence.
"This is not the type of dialogue I would like to be having with our communities. I want to have a dialogue where we are doing positive things and producing positive news," Eley said. "But I feel with more conversations, more understanding, we will get to the root of this and get criminals out of our city."
Eley said he wants supporters attending the march to come with an open mind.
"We want people to come with open ears, open mouths, great energy. We want children there; we want adults; we want clergical teams. We want everyone who has invested interest in their city, whether it's Hampton or Newport News," Eley said. "I have city leaders from Hampton coming, city leaders from Newport News coming, and what we're going to do is walk in Newport News and Hampton because there's one street that divides both of us."
If you're interested in joining this march, it will be held beginning in Anderson Park in Newport News, December 18 at 3 p.m.