PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — An event on Saturday in Portsmouth aimed at taking back the community.

The uptick in violence in Hampton roads sparked the idea of “Open Our Eyes.” Event organizers tell 10 On Your Side they were called to bring the community together.

“When I am touched like that I feel the need to call on God,” Minister Douglas Hankieson said. “That’s my reasoning for this.”

Minister Hankieson and his wife, Lisa, both grew up in Portsmouth and with recent violence, they feel the community needs hope.

“People need hope. People need our encouragement. People needs to be lifted up,” Minister Hankieson said.

Lisa Hankieson hopes to encourage people to speak up more with encouragement through music, prayer and person testimony

“There is so much fear. That what we want to do. We want the community to know that there is hope,” she said.

The Hankieson’s not only used music and prayer, but brought Portsmouth leaders together, such as Virginia State Senator Lionell Spruill and Mayor Shannon Glover, to speak directly with residents.

“I am in the community. This is my community. I live here. I work here. My business is here. Everything that I believe Portsmouth will be and can be I am invested in it,” Mayor Glover said.

Glover says his vision for Portsmouth is to be a safe community where people can raise a family and enjoy the historic waterfront and that the city is working tirelessly to reach that vision.

“I want every citizen to know if they aren’t satisfied or they don’t feel safe. Nor do I,” Mayor Glover said.

He emphasized that if you see something say something. Mayor Glover said simply reach out to the city or law enforcement about an issue. It allows the proper authority to step in an disrupt the issue.