Neighbors rally to Silence the Violence in the Mid-South

On this Memorial Day holiday, murders and other crimes have prompted members of one Mid-South community to rally to take back their neighborhood.

Families have been out all day enjoying their Memorial Day off.

But, for Breath of Life Seventh Day Adventist Church, it's also an opportunity to Take Back Our Neighborhoods after a weekend of deadly violence.

It's the first annual Summerfest. The theme: Silence the Violence, Increase the Peace.

It comes on the heels of five different shootings over the holiday weekend.

In order to take part in the fun activities, families had to attend a crime prevention workshop.

Officers, some undercover, spoke of the violence this weekend.

Tiffany Qualls brought her family to the Summerfest to teach them about crime. She says five murders over the weekend opened old wounds. And she's calling for all families to join the fight to Take Back Our Neighborhoods.

"I got shot in the left leg," says Jada Perkins.

Those are chilling words you'd never want to hear a 7-year-old say but last summer Perkins was in the family minivan when a bullet hit her.

Jada's mother, Tiffany Qualls, brought her children to Summerfest.

"We were just driving down the street. It really affected me. I think I cried more than she did," says Qualls.

Qualls adds, "you have to teach your children. Because if you don't the streets will teach them and I'm just not one of those parents to let the streets have my children."

Organizer Ebony Chenault says Breath of Life Seventh Day Adventist Church wanted to take a different approach.

Chenault says "the sad thing is that a lot of time it's young people that would have had their whole lives ahead of them and then sometimes it's perpetrated by young people, so that's two lives that are now gone."

Qualls says she knows first-hand that all children should take part in violence prevention, "and the more churches that get involved to keep children busy, the more children we'll keep safe."

And she prays the violence last weekend is not an indication of what's to come this summer.

And Jada's mother says her daughter is fully healed. She says she won't live in fear.

She'll just do her part each day to Take Back Our Neighborhoods.


to email Kontji Anthony.