PHOTOS: Vigil for Peace at George Wythe High School

Colette McEachin challenges Confederate monument protesters on gun violence: "Don't just shout out, show up!"

The Richmond police department held a Vigil for Peace event at George Wythe High School on the afternoon of Monday, May 1st. The vigil was in response to a shooting in the school’s parking lot last week. Two students were wounded, with one having life-threatening injuries.

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There were several speakers including Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras, Richmond interim Police Chief Rick Edwards, Richmond Sheriff Antionette Irving, State Senator Lamont Bagby and others.

An emotional Kamras addressed the crowd: “There are too many guns in this city, damn too many. And you know what we don’t have enough of? We don’t have enough jobs, enough mental health support, we don’t have enough food,” he said. “Here at RPS, we are on track to have 600 suicide assessments from our kids this year alone.”

“Our kids are hurting. Our families are hurting. And you combine that with a sea of guns and you get what we see time and time again on our streets,” he continued. “So I am pleading with anybody and everybody: families, neighbors, anybody that can help lift somebody up, be a mentor, buy someone groceries, let someone stay on your couch, whatever it is to alleviate some of the pain. And if you have guns, lock them up.”

Kamras’ message was echoed by all the speakers that community involvement is critical in addressing gun violence in Richmond.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin gave a scathing speech in which she called for all the protesters who had rallied for the removal of the Confederate monuments to flood the streets about this issue that is directly affecting lives today. “Don’t just shout out, show up! Those peaceful protests were well deserved,” she said. “So where are these people now? Where is all this anger and concern now?”

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