NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — People in Nashville came out for the inaugural Silence the Violence Rally in at Jefferson Street Baptist Church on Saturday.
City leaders and pastors shared a powerful message with attendees about mentoring our city's youth.
"The reason is that, I really think that the issue with the kids is that you go back 20 years, 15 years ago there was a lot of community-based programs that offered that village and they're not there. So what we want to do is build mentorships so that a child can get resources, knowledge, and experiences that I know is necessary for growth," organizer Reverend Venita Lewis said.
Lewis said she wanted to put together the rally after seeing a small percent of our city's teenagers committing serious crimes.
"Every now and then we were like youth just shot somebody, just killed somebody, and nobody was saying anything," she said.
Lewis said to decrease the violence, the Nashville community needs to build a village where positive role models support the teenagers and younger generation.
Lewis's 16-year-old granddaughter, Ronae Briley, agreed with the message about having a mentor.
"I didn't have someone telling me you should do this, you should do that. Even in my schooling, I had to make choices, switch my senior year to get other resources and opportunities that wouldn't have been available. When the youth don't have anyone that has no pathway, no role models to look at, what can they do," Briley said.
During the rally, adults were recognized for being a mentor to some youth. Attendees also had a chance to attend expungment clinics and apply for jobs.