Violence Interrupters Honor ‘Carolyn Coleman Week of Peace’By Yasmine Regester, Peacemaker Staff Writer / July 14, 2023
One banner with two words: Guns Down.
That is part of the mission to reduce violent crimes in Greensboro by Gate City Coalition, a stop the violence awareness organization which is part of a national organization called Cure Violence that addresses violence in communities of color.
“My message to the community is, see if we can figure out a solution before picking up a gun. There’s more to life than ending it,” said LeGrande Roseborough a violence interrupter with Gate City Coalition.
Gate City Coalition led the Carolyn Coleman Week of Peace with a week of events to promote unity in the community. The group gathered on July 10 to paint banners with anti-violence messages that were hung Tuesday (July 11) across three different bridges during a peace ride in East Greensboro.
Roseborough said joining Gate City Coalition wasn’t a hard task because stopping gun violence is something vital for the community.
“My motivation to join was to get back to protecting our communities. We’re showing people that we can get together and enjoy each other’s company and there doesn’t have to be any violence. This is something beautiful,” he said.
The Greensboro Police Department released statistics last week pointing to an increase in violent crimes in East Greensboro. The department’s plan is to redirect more police officers to areas experiencing increases in violent crimes and increases in motor vehicle stops.
Ingram Bell, Gate City Coalition’s Program Manager, said the increase in police presence is a concern for her.
“One of my concerns on what the police want to do is more policing in high crime areas. To me, what that says is that our Black communities are going to be overpoliced. That’s a concern. Considering there is a mistrust in police officers. Us working with them is us doing events like this and encouraging the police to participate in conversations with the community. Being a resource and not a force in the community,” said Bell.
She added, “We’ve had an uptick in homicides over the last couple of weeks and we need it to stop. We have to bring awareness to the importance of a cease-fire.”
She noted that the events this week place a focus on youth.
“I want the youth to participate and know that they have a voice in what their communities look like,” said Bell.
Gate City Coalition has been spearheading a Week of Peace in July for the past few years. They say that adding the late Guilford County Commissioner Carolyn Coleman’s name to it is a way to honor her legacy and all she did for the community.
“She paved the way for a lot of us. She fought for our program before the program came to Greensboro. It was the most appropriate way to honor her,” said Bell.
Genesis Horton, Coleman’s granddaughter also joined the banner painting event on Monday.
“I am so honored that my grandmother’s name is attached to something so positive and important to the community. This is what she spent her life working for. She was a peaceful woman. She fought for things to be better for everyone. This helps to carry on her legacy,” said Horton.
Horton recounted the many community events she attended alongside her grandmother.
“She always taught us to give back. It doesn’t matter where you go in life, always look out for the least of us. She wasn’t just a politician, she truly led by example,” Horton said, adding that she was looking forward to attending all the Week of Peace events.
Carolyn Coleman Week of Peace events remaining: July 13 through 15:
- Thursday: Community Cookout at Smith Homes at 4 p.m. and a Community Cookout at Hickory Trails at 4 p.m.
- Friday: Employment and Healthcare Information at 2031 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Saturday: Block Party at 2031 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.