NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – As Hampton Roads begins to reopen, one local organization wants to hold events all summer long to build a stronger community base to combat violence.
Chairperson Bilal Muhammad from Stop the Violence Team says he hopes events like the one Saturday will encourage the community to come together and minimize violence.
“We’re asking the community – let us work together to bring about a more closer environment to reduce the crime and violence that is taking place in our community,” he said.
For 16-year-old Nafeesah Salaam from Chesapeake, she came out to show her peers the importance of supporting events to improve the community.
“It’s great that we start young because when young people get into it, everybody gets into it,” she said. “They look at us and say, ‘Oh, they’re doing it? We all got to step in.'”
Organizers want more people in the community to participate in events like this to give everyone a safe outlet to get to know each other.
Pieing Williams says her husband is part of the Stop the Violence Team, and decided to come out to Saturday’s event to show the community the importance of unity events like this one.
“I’m a mother. I’m a grandmother. And we need to protect our children,” she said. “We need to get our children involved in something and keep them busy.”
Attendees got to enjoy music, food, a bounce house and even tug of war.
This won’t be the last cookout they’ll have.
They hope to see more community members and even elected officials as the summer continues.
“If we pull more together, we can make a big difference, a better change for the community,” said Muhammad.
Organizers say their next community event will be in July.