CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY)- A Chesapeake community spent Labor Day coming together to unite against violence.
The League of Advocates, Campostella Civic League, and others hosted a community day event with food, music, sports, and more at Campostella Square Park.
“It’s a beautiful thing to see them come together,” said Keith Cuffee, who lives in the community.
Cuffee, who was there to represent Stop the Violence, also helped plan a Stop the Violence March for the event. He says he wants to make it a safe place for kids to grow up and that’s by having events and other activities for them.
“We need to keep doing what we’re doing now not just today, but all the time. We need to get together,” he said.
Cuffee knows firsthand how gun violence can impact the community. He’s lost friends and relatives to it and is also a victim of gun violence.
“I was shot in 2009. It wasn’t even meant for me,” he said. “But, I got shot.”
Monday’s event and march is hoping to show people there are those in their community who care.
“We never did it around here so I felt we needed to do something to pull everybody together. The community’s got to come together. They gotta see people do something then they’ll fall in place,” Cuffee said.
Chesapeake Police, who were out in full support at the event, are hoping people fall in place to and show they’re against violence in the community.
“As the captain in charge of the police precinct that covers this area, we see 24 hours, 365 days the violence that impacts the community. We realize the only way to end this violence is not only develop a partnership with the community, but get the community involved, get the community to care,” said Captain John Landfair with the Chesapeake Police Department.
Landfair says they often respond to the symptoms of violence and that gun violence and homicides should be treated with holistic methods.
“While overall crime tends to be down, violent crime has skyrocketed,” he said. “We had six homicides in the greater South Norfolk area last month. That’s unheard of. That’s a dramatic increase. We’re pouring resources into the community to stem that flow of violence that’s flowing through the community but again there’s only so much we can do but it can’t be alone.”
Jaquan Twine, who also organized the event, agreed.
“There’s been a lot of unnecessary violence and wild things. We wanted to help people know there are people to help. The police are here to help. We just wanted to get people together on the same page,” he said.
Twine, who is a graduate student at Norfolk State University, says he got the idea behind the Labor Day event back in July and reached out to community activist Terrell Cuffee to coordinate the event.
He hopes the kids, who participated and others who weren’t there, take notice.
“The kids are our future,” Twine said. “They look to use as leadership. If they see us running around doing stupid things, they’ll run around doing stupid things. They’re going to want to run around and do stupid things too. We need to encourage them to do good things that are cool also. That’s all it is at the end of the day.”
Twine says they’re planning more events for the Fall.
Cuffee says people can get involved by participating in the meetings held at the Cuffee Center for the Campostella Square League of Advocates.
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