NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — From the time gunshots go off in a Norfolk neighborhood to when a sheet covers a neighbor, you’ll likely see more than just first responders on the street.
You may see a man with a megaphone, and a mission, wielding a sign that reads “Stop the Violence.” His name is Bilal Muhammad, president of the Stop the Violence Team.
“We will see a crime happen, we hear about it be on the news and we’ll go straight to the area where it took place,” explained Muhammad.
He and his team, knowing the dangers of being there so soon after a shooting occurs, say the response time is not just important. They say it’s part of the key.
“I spoke out. Right in the middle where this situation happened at. I told the community, that neighborhood, we have to change this. We talk about a young man laying on the ground with a sheet over him, a young lady with a sheet over her. Senseless murders for no reason. We need to change our understanding, our love, and our care for our community,” Muhammad said.
Many people have asked him, “How can you begin to understand what it means to lose a loved one to gun violence? How do you know how it feels to wear my shoes right now?”
Well, long before Stop the Violence, Bilal says he owned a pair of those shoes himself.
“I was 17 years old when I lost my brother to gun violence back in 1982,” Bilal told 10 On Your Side. “So I can sympathize with the families losing a loved one at that moment.”
Bilal admits yes, it’s tough work, but he knows the possibility of a better tomorrow is well worth it.
“We don’t want to come to the area where someone is laying on the ground. We want you to come in where there’s no crime happening, no violence taking place. Let’s sit at the table, let’s organize an event that can help the little ones in elementary school or middle school. So hopefully, we can save a few of them.”
“We need to change our understanding, our love, and our care for our community. For the community as a whole. People in general, let’s show compassion. Let’s stop this.”
Stay with WAVY.com for latest on Stop the Violence team events and other local news.