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Rocky Mount residents hold forum to crack down on violence

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Recent shootings have residents concerned and searching for a solution. Members of the community gathered for a forum on "Making Neighborhoods Whole." Recent shootings have residents concerned and searching for a solution. Members of the community gathered for a forum on "Making Neighborhoods Whole."
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -

Some residents in Rocky Mount came together Saturday morning with one goal: putting a stop to area violence.

Recent shootings have residents concerned and searching for a solution. Members of the community gathered for a forum on "Making Neighborhoods Whole." There have been several meetings about the violence in the past, but the forum is a first for a new organization, The Community Coalition of Eastern North Carolina.

"We really needed to come together collectively for the good of our city," said Pastor of Word Tabernacle Church, James Gailliard. He's one of nine pastors that forms the coalition. All the pastors are from different denomination.

"The only way that we are going to fix the problem is collectively and collaboratively," he said.

"This is a big step towards growth," said Trishonda Roberson. She has lived in Rocky Mount all her life. "This forum is about us coming together. It's about us talking about the issues that are plaguing the community and how we want to see it different."

One act of violence that resonates with everyone is the shooting in the parking lot at Word Tabernacle back in January. Four people were shot. No one was killed in the incident, but residents don't want anything like that to happen again.

Organizers of the forum said the church shooting inspired change. Residents want to do what they can to try and get the city back on track.

"We've had other acts of violence in our city but something was different about this one," said Gailliard. "It became kind of catalytic for our city and because of that we made a pact that we would join together and form together so that we could figure out a solution. We are developing a holistic approach to social programming that hopefully will impact the conditions of violence and poverty."

Gailliard said the next for the coalition is putting out the programs they've prepared for Rocky Mount and Eastern Carolina residents.

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