SCLC vowing to help stop youth violence

Civil rights leaders promise plan to stop youth violence

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Birmingham civil rights group is promising to come up with further action in the wake of recent violent acts including the death of 8-year-old Royta Giles.

Royta was shot at the Riverchase Galleria last Friday during a disagreement between a group of young men.

The SCLC and area pastors said they will meet next week. They are promising to take more steps to curb the violence.

The pastors said they have to reach out and change the minds of young people.

The Birmingham Chapter of the SCLC gathered at Kelly Ingram Park Wednesday, near the statute of The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. to denounce recent violent acts.

“We can’t sleep at night grieving for the parents of that little boy who was innocently shot down,” said Calvin Woods, President of the Birmingham Chapter of the SCLC.

While the death of Royta stirred emotion in Woods, the civil rights leaders and other pastors say the violent acts have to stop. “This violence is also like the virus. We have to find the vaccines,” Pastor T.L. Lewis, Bethel Baptist Church said.

The pastors are promising to come with a renewed plan to address violent acts committed and aimed at young people. “We are asking all of our young kings, our young queens to stop the violence and put down the guns,” Pastor Harold Bass, with Olivet Monumental Baptist Church said.

Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway attended the event.

The sheriff said the death of Royta was senseless and shows they have to find a way to reach young people. “As far as individuals settling their differences with a gun that should not have to happen. That is not the way to settle your differences. We want them to know let’s sit down and talk,” Pettway said.

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