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Valdosta community comes together to end gun violence

Stop the Gun Violence event held Saturday at Scott Park
Posted at 11:43 AM, Mar 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-26 11:43:02-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Last month, members of the Valdosta High School football team were impacted in a shooting.

The mother of one of the players and community members hosted a Stop the Violence rally Saturday.

When Carla Gervin's son and Valdosta High School football player became a victim of gun violence, she knew she had to do something.

"We did a walk against gun violence and that is just really in light of recent events, unfortunate events in our community," Gervin said. "We've had an increase in gun violence in the city of Valdosta so we wanted to make sure we raise awareness to that issue, make sure that we as a community are aware of it and do something about it and make a change."

Nearly 600 people attended the walk and rally at Scott Park. It was hosted by Coastal Plain Area Economic Opportunity Authority and Men For Men LLC.

Organizer Feliciano Lewis says the purpose is to spread a message of peace and unity for all of those impacted.

"One of our own, Carla Gervin's son, was a part of a violent act here in Valdosta. So, it really hit home and as an agency, we all pulled together, called Coach Shelton with Valdosta High School and we made this thing happen," Lewis said.

Something that Valdosta High School Football Coach Shelton Felton says is appreciated by his team and the community as a whole.

"This community wants the gun violence to stop. And the gun violence effects everyone in this community, not just us. It effects the whole community and people coming out to stop it is a sign that we want change," Felton said.

Gervin says this push for change is all a part of a bigger picture.

"They have a coach that loves them. They have coaches, the head coach as well as the entire coaches staff that loves the team. It is about more than football. It's about life. It is about developing these young men into men," Gervin said.

Organizers say they hope to have more events like the one held Saturday in the coming months.