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Stop the Violence Summit continues with second session Saturday

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Those who missed the Stop the Violence Summit will have a chance to further what was started at the March 18 event, which drew 210 participants.

Organizers have agreed to have a second and third session in the coming weeks. The second summit is set to convene from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at Mission House Church, 120 Statesville Blvd. The doors will open at 9 a.m.

The purpose of the free summit is to identify short- and long-term actions to stem violence, form community committees, and set measurable goals, organizers said.

Pre-registration is preferred to help organizers with planning, but registration will be accepted the day of the session.

The March summit was set up so that those who attended could break into small groups, allowing them to talk to each other and not at each other, said organizer Alvena “Al” Heggins, founder of the Human Praxis Institute, a human relations firm.

The small groups met for three hours, engaging in human relations activities, sharing their concerns, and problem-solving “through their generated solutions,” Heggins said.

Each session was led by trained and experienced facilitators from Salisbury.

Heggins said the second part of the summit was a chance for the groups to present their concerns and solutions.

“The groups at the end of the day were amazing and substantive,” she said.

Heggins said a much-needed perspective that was missing at the summit was that of law enforcement. Heggins said both Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten and Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes were unable to attend. She said she hopes they will attend or send a representative to Saturday’s summit or the third summit scheduled for April 22.

The third session will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon at EastSquare Artworks, 120 E. Innes St. The doors will open at 9 a.m. Pre-registration is preferred, but registration will be accepted the day of the meeting.

The city of Salisbury has planned a series of community action planning sessions in April. Heggins said those are separate from the summits, but certainly worth residents’ participation.

She said a key difference in the community action planning sessions and the Stop the Violence Summit is that the summit is a grassroots effort.

Co-convening partners for the summit were the Salisbury-Rowan Chapter of the NAACP, Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury Pride, Night Crawlers, YouNique Starz, Mission House Church, Latin Mix store and salon, Rowan-Salisbury Women Community Action Committee, and the Truth Hope Healing Equity Commission.

Sponsors of the summit were Livingstone College, the Thelma Smith Foundation South Branch, Avita, Bounce City, Cheerwine, Domino’s Pizza, EastSquare Artworks, Frito-Lay, Human Praxis Institute LLC, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Let’s Lend a Helping Hand Inc., Mean Mug coffee shop, the Moscardini family, Thelma’s Fine Foods Restaurant, and Two Pigs Farm.

To pre-register for this weekend’s Stop the Violence Summit at Mission House Church, email organizer Al Heggins at alheggins@humanpraxisinstitute.com.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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