Portsmouth residents come together for 'Community Day' to stop to gun violence

London Oaks Community Day.jpg
Posted at 11:16 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 23:34:07-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Community activists in Portsmouth are taking action to put an end to gun violence by bringing the community together and giving kids an outlet to have fun.

Moon bounces, snow cones and hamburgers - that’s how organizers brought the community together Monday.

"We just wanted to give the kids something positive - just to give back to them and let them know we care," Decarlos Anderson of the Big Homie organization said.

Gun violence across the nation and in Portsmouth has community activists like Darrell Redmond tired. Redmond is from the London Oaks area of the city and says kids don’t have many options when it comes to having fun.

"They have nothing for the youth to do, so when you’re in a situation with nothing to do, what are you going to do? Find time to do something that’s really not for them to do. We continue to push to get the basketball court back out there, the rec centers. We ask for these things, but with it not happening, we have to put on events ourselves in order to give these kids an outlet," said Redmond, who's the founder of the non-profit organization Give Back to the Block.

There have been more than 14 reported shootings in Portsmouth since the start of June. Organizers say events like this are needed to stop gun violence.

"I haven’t seen this since I was a little boy. You want your child to be able to have a good time and the older people sit outside like they used to, so [with] events like this, I believe it will help," said Portsmouth parent Gregory Ketchum.

At a recent city council meeting, parents spoke out about the gun violence in Portsmouth, calling on city leaders to take action.

"My kids are talking about they are getting shot in the head at 5 and 7 years old. They should not be thinking about that. I don’t let my kids go outside," said LaQuita Reese, the mother of three young children.

One resident of the London Oaks housing community says the gun violence comes from a lack of programs for kids.

Related: CHKD working to curb gun violence in children, their communities with help of new grant

"We need better programs. The foot soldiers that’s put here on these streets, Darrell Redmond and all the rest of them, I tip my hat off to them because they are in those neighborhoods. When my son and brothers come to my house, they got to stay strapped up. They strapped. I’m strapped. I’m strapped. When I get out my vehicle, I’m strapped. You know why? Because I’m scared."

Community activists say they will continue to have Community Day to curb the violence.