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East Enders rally to stop violence: ‘Put down the guns’

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RICHMOND, Va. – East End community leaders and the Richmond Police Department are doing everything they can to help stop the violence in the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

Organizers united with local churches and organizations for the second annual East End Community Day at Lucks Field on Sunday.

"There's so much violence going on, I think this is nice to have out here for the kids,” said Summer, a mother who lives in Mosby Court.

Summer said she is tired and frustrated with all the crime in her neighborhood.

"It's too close to home. It scared everybody,” she said.

Lisa Starkes came out with her three grandchildren in hopes of showing them something positive.

"So the children can better themselves and get along together,” said Starkes.

Organizers said the goal of the event is stop the violence.

"We wanted to bring everyone together so we can just love on one another as one for a day,” Von Johnson, one of the organizers, said.

RPD officers were out meeting people, serving food and playing softball.

"It brings people closer to law enforcement. Let people know that they're only human just like everybody else. They wake up and they have a job to do every morning,” said Johnson.

Acting Lieutenant Stanley Sutton with RPD said some of the homicides in these neighborhoods are domestic, but many result from fights between neighborhoods and they usually involve teenagers and young people.

"People from Mosby, Creighton, Whitcomb -- they're all here. They're here interacting, they're all laughing and joking," Sutton said. "There's no tension or anything of that nature, so that's good. The kids need to see something positive before they go back to school. They can interact with kids from other neighborhoods without having any issues, so that's what this is about.”

"It boosts the morale of the community,” said Amy Farrell, who lives in the area. "On the news, it only shows the bad things, but we are a strong community as well.”

“Violence is an issue, but if we come together, we can show a different side of this neighborhood that people don't know about,” resident King Shabazze said.

For many, the event is also a step toward the right direction.  Summer hopes it will help kids get excited for school and stay out of trouble.

"I think this is a really nice positive thing we're doing out here and we're having out here today,” said Summer.

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