Last week, two young black men were shot to death in the Salisbury Street community of Wadesboro. The tragic deaths of Marcus Antonio Allen and Jerry Thomas Rorie were soon attributed to gang violence. One witness at the scene last Monday night was heard saying, “There ain’t no way to stop gang violence.”
It’s easy to throw our hands up and say, “Well, there’s nothing we can do,” and let our young men continue to kill each other.
Instead, the North Carolina NAACP sent two of its highest leaders, president Rev. Dr. William Barber and Vice President Rev. Curtis Gatewood, to be part of a march and rally against violence on Sunday afternoon. An estimated 200 people attended the march and rally, and of those nearly 200 people, only eight were white. That includes four members of the media, two members of a participating motorcycle club, Anson County Sheriff Tommy Allen and attorney Fred Poisson.
The white community of Wadesboro and Anson County may have felt uncomfortable joining in on an event organized by the NAACP, but the key word within the word of “community” is “unity.” That doesn’t mean just the African-American community uniting against violence; it means the entire community — black, white, Latino, Asian, Indian, whoever calls Anson County home.
Gang violence isn’t “their” problem; it’s OUR problem.
The two young men weren’t just another statistic regarding gang violence. They were someone’s sons, friends, brothers, students. It’s time more of us got comfortable with being uncomfortable, and bring some real change in Anson County.