Community wants to stop the silence and end the violence - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Community wants to stop the silence and end the violence

LONGS, SC (WMBF) - Packed under a gazebo in Longs, hundreds of folks made it clear, they are fed up with the recent violence in their community.

“We've got to start standing up for what's right,” said Wallace Evans Jr, a youth pastor who helped organize the event.

The community's pain and frustration boiled just over a month ago when an 18 year old was shot and killed outside the Party Shop.

Then just a few weeks later a 14 year old was gunned down barely a mile away.

In both cases Horry County Police have made arrests, but that doesn't fix what was taken away from this tight knit town.

“It shows that they really are concerned and want there to be a change,” said Evans Jr. “So we want to say something different about Poplar that people can be proud of Poplar. That this violence isn't typical of the people who live here.”

Whether it was a state senator or boy scout, just about everyone mirrored those feelings. People want a solution to the violence, and they aren't going to wait around for it.

“It's just a tough problem but joining together and working together is the only way we're going to get it done, and it's got to be done by the community,” explained Senator Greg Hembree. “It can't be done by Columbia telling somebody how to do it, that's a very small part of the equation.”

“We need to change from somebody need to do something to I need to do something,” said Evans Jr. while addressing the crowd.

The folks decided the change needs to come from the top. They want more positive male influences and more activities for kids to do.

The ultimate goal may be a long ways away, but the community knows to make any change, you have to start somewhere.

"It's the beginning and I really expect great things to come of this,” said Evans Jr.

One of the big points the speakers brought up today is they don't want this rally to go in vain. They want people to keep getting involved in the community... and urged many men to start mentoring teenage boys.

The folks who organized the event also talked about a possible community center or boys and girls club further on down in the road.

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