Community members in Kinston calling for end to violence

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Community members say gang violence is a growing issue in Kinston.

Some people are calling for a citywide prayer vigil and march to end violence.

The way Shenetta Blount cares about her students is the same way she and others care about the city.

“We love Kinston,” said Shenetta Blount, a community activist. “Kinston has a lot of good. It’s just, you can’t see it because we always see what’s happening in the streets with these killings.”

“One of the main reasons I’m Hurt is because I love this city,” said Helen Locust, pastor.

Blount and Locust are fed up with the violence and say it’s time to take back their streets.

“Two killings in one day, that is ridiculous,” said Blount.

“Kinston needs a healing,” said Locust. “On our sign out there, we have, this year, lets pray, lets honor one another, let’s love one another, and that’s what I want to see in this city.”

The two community members are collaborating to bring the city together.

A prayer vigil will be held at the River Life Christian Center on Monday. Both Blount and Pastor Locust hope it will make a difference.

“I’m hoping that we’ll get a plan, we’ll get a plan of going out to talk to the children and going out and talk to the families,” said Locust.

“When we leave that prayer vigil, I want everyone to feel empowered to do something [about] what’s going on in our city,” said Blount.

Local leaders are also responding to the recent violence

“Don’t let the actions of a few people steal your joy,” said Mayor BJ Murphy. “Kinston has so many great opportunities ahead of itself.”

Murphy says he wants people to focus on the positive things happening in Kinston.

“To our right, Sugar Hill Pizzeria is opening next week,” said Murphy. “To our left is one of the state’s most popular microbreweries, Mother Earth.”

No matter who you are, everyone agrees it’s time for the violence to stop.

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