Rocky Mount community members and leaders are gathering at Word Tabernacle Church tonight for a public forum. This comes just weeks after four boys were shot on the church basketball court, and another was killed in a drive-by shooting.
Word Tabernacle Church Pastor James Gailliard said the tragedies have been a catalyst for social dialogue. He said he sees people crossing the aisle politically and having constructive discussions about how to combat gang violence, poverty and joblessness in the community.
“Never before have I seen us mobilize like this,” Gailliard said. “And so, we're really expecting that we're gonna have some good outcomes, and we're gonna turn some things around.”
Gailliard said everyone knows what the local problems are. What he wants is for this meeting to focus on practical solutions.
“We're asking people to literally be able to talk about, 'What resources are gonna be needed? Is there gonna be opposition that we need to look at that's gonna prevent us from solving our problems? And what specific recommendations are you making as a leader in our community or as a member of our community? And then what things do we do next?'”
Gailliard said community leaders are already discussing plans to create a coalition that involves mentoring for some young people and community plans for certain neighborhoods. Gailliard said he hopes the public will feel invested in a final plan based on their feedback.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Word Tabernacle Church, and it is open to the public.