Thomasville anti-gun violence march calls on community support

Thomasville anti-gun violence march calls on community support
Published: Jul. 16, 2022 at 10:17 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2022 at 11:41 AM EDT
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THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) -Chanting and singing filled the streets of Thomasville Saturday as some residents came together to fight against gun violence in their community.

Think Before You Re-Act, a Thomasville organization has been trying to stop gun violence in the community for years now. Although organization leaders are seeing an improvement, they say there’s more work to be done.

A lot of gin related incidents have happened around the Thomasville community.
A lot of gin related incidents have happened around the Thomasville community.(WALB)

“I’ve seen so many gun shootings in Thomasville. Being a city councilor and a pastor, I have a passion for it,” Terry Scott, Thomasville city commissioner and president of Think Before You Re-Act said. “I went to Iraq twice, not one time I had to use my weapon. Two tours over there, but I come back to stateside, and I see drive-by shootings, in my own neighborhood.”

After Scott saw one man get shot in the head, he said he knew he had to act and create efforts to make his community safer.

“Once we make the community more aware of this, the less gun violence they’ll be. If we see something, say something, I call it being a preventer and preventing something from happening within your community,” he said.

Thomasville anti-gun violence march calls on community support

Two Albany natives who have been impacted by gun violence also joined the march. Xavier Bickerson changed his life after serving four years in prison due to his involvement in gun violence. He said he’s hoping to bring his message back to the youth in Albany to also impact his community.

“Gun violence in Albany and gun violence in Thomasville is totally different. In Albany, you’re pretty much scared to come outside. So, I can carry that on to let the people in Albany know that we need to start thinking before we react because when we think before we react, every action has a consequence behind it,” he said.

Some residents are hoping to make their community safer by spreading awareness.
Some residents are hoping to make their community safer by spreading awareness.(WALB)

During the march, residents paid their respect to those lost to gun violence.

“It’s very bad. As you can see as we were marching, we probably stopped at four or five different places where gun violence had happened and this is not people that we don’t know, these are people that we’re close with, people that we know. These are people that we see on the streets day after day,” Keith Mcintyre, a march attendee said.

Samuel Williams, Thomasville resident, said attending the march was his way of giving back to the community.

“I’ve been living here all my life. All the dirt I did to the community, it’s time to give something back,” he said.

Antwaun Billingsly also traveled from Albany to share his story. He said not only has he been shot at, but he also served time in jail after getting involved in gun-related activity. After he saw it impacting his family, he decided to change his ways.

“I just want to enlighten people and give people courage and let them know that they can do better because I’m doing better,” Billingsly said.

The Thomasville organization not only fights against gun violence, but also provides mentoring...
The Thomasville organization not only fights against gun violence, but also provides mentoring for the youth.(WALB)

According to Think Before You Re-act, almost 85,000 people suffer from non-fatal gun injuries. Organizers of the event also say guns are the second leading cause of death for ages 1 through 24.

Williams said all gun-related deaths can be avoided if people learned how to love each other.

“People have to learn how to live with each other. If we can’t live with nobody, it’ll escalate a lot of stuff,” he said.

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