Groups use summer fun to combat violence

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Multiple Memphis communities hosted a night of summer fun that had a very serious message at its core.

Organizers said they believe these events can bring down violence in the city.

Whether they're flipping in a bounce house or just grilling out, Memphians came together for the 2nd annual Safe Summer Block Party on Friday.

"I think it was the highlight of my summer because I also get to make new friends from different schools and the community," said participant Jayden Richmond.

"I was looking forward to this because I like getting on all the animals and petting everything and jumping around," added Cameron Richmond.

The event was much more than camel rides and petting zoos at Hickory Ridge Middle School.

Organizers had motivational speakers on hand to encourage the youth and make a safe place for children to play.

"My vision and my mission was to create a fun atmosphere so that these kids can see the city does care, the county does care," said event promoter Artemis "Pepper" Williams. "And you know, that there is a way where you can grow up in the inner city and have good clean fun."

Across town at the Raleigh Community Center, organizers promoted the same mission of ending violence and having fun.

"It's really awesome!" said host Rodeisha Crawford. "I mean I had a part in stopping it. Just for a couple of hours to have people come out and just have fun without the violence."

In a city that is plagued with high crime rates, both groups said events like these are what we need to better the community.

"Put down the guns, come have fun!" Crawford said.

The safe summer block party series will happen every Friday for next three weeks, ending with a large event August 5 at Tiger Lane.

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