Durham students call for end to gun violence
Posted November 10, 2019 7:41 p.m. EST
Updated November 10, 2019 11:46 p.m. EST
Durham, N.C. — High school football players from one Durham school took a stand Sunday against gun violence in their community.
Members of the Southern High School team stood alongside elected officials, including Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead, and church leaders to encourage people to put the guns down and save lives.
All of those who stood pledged to not pick up a gun to settle a personal problem.
Student-athletes who organized the rally said they worry for their safety when they step outside due to the number of shootings in Durham the past few weeks. Two people were killed and several other wounded during a string of shootings in the days before Halloween.
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"It’s been very troubling," said 18-year-old Jamae Blank. "I have a hard time having fun because, you know, you can just step outside and get shot nowadays."
"Support has always been there. It’s just, OK, who’s going to take the first step?" said Jakhari Dowd, who decided to take the first step by organizing the Guns Down, Lives Up rally.
The football players said they hope they’re able to save lives and inspire the next generation with their efforts. The seniors said the peace rally is a way to leave a legacy to the school in a positive way.
"We just thought, what a better way to go out with a bang and leave a legacy, a true legacy," Blank said.
Dowd encouraged his fellow students and neighbors to join the fight.
"The police can do but so much, and, of course, we can do but so much, but are we doing what we can do to bring that 50-50 to make 100?" he said.
More than 50 people attended the event at Southern High.