SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Community members came together on Friday to spread awareness for gun violence prevention.
The stand-out took place on Main Street in Springfield, across from the Mass Mutual Center. Participants wore Orange, the color of the gun violence prevention movement.
22News spoke with Juanita Batchelor, the founder of MORE, which stands Mother Overlooked Reaching Out Empowerment. Batchelor started the organization after she lost her son to gun violence.
“After my son, Darrell Lee Jenkins Junior was killed in front of our home from gun violence in 2014, as a matter of fact, June 4, 2014. “Today marks seven years of his anniversary, with his murder unsolved,” Batchelor said.
June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month, and Batchelor’s goal is to make sure younger generations aren’t victims of this epidemic.
“Make families and other people aware of what we are going through with these unsolved homicides and how it affects the youth that’s coming up in the city,” Batchelor said.
22News also spoke with Greg Ellerbee from Springfield, who believes that a standout isn’t enough to prevent gun violence.
“It looks like to me, it’s coming with no solutions, just holding up signs, I think if you want to do something about gun violence, something with the community, come with an actual program that solves a solution,” Ellerbee said. “Mental health awareness, more workforce development programs, more construction programs that actually want to help the kids.”
No matter how change happens, the message from everyone was clear.
“Say stop to gun violence, stop taking these young men too early, too fast. And so that’s what it’s about, standing up and saying no more,” Natasha Mitchell, a stand-out participant from Springfield said.
In addition to MORE, Massachusetts Moms Demand Action and the Easthampton City Arts were among the organizations participating in the stand-out.