CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Thursday night 19-year-old Tre’Quan Gibson was gunned down outside the Second Avenue Center. Friday afternoon neighbors gathered outside the center to show love and support in the family’s time of crisis.
“Change is not easy but yet it is possible, again, the doors to the village are open. Let me hear you say it. The doors to the village are open, again, the doors of the village are open,” yelled community advocate LaKeisha Barron-Brown.
This community is rattled by another young life lost to gun violence, coming together to show they will not break in a time of tragedy, but unite to stop the violence.
“For far too long it seems our village here on the West Side, our doors have been closed, we have to make the kids feel comfortable, to know we are here for them,” adds Barron-Brown.
Deanna McKinney lost her own son to gun violence a few years ago and today lead the group in prayer as she knows all too well what it feels like to have a child taken too soon.
“You never recover from this. I mean, that’s not going to ever happen – how you deal with it is another story,” says Deanna Mckinney, a City of Charleston Councilwoman and West Side community advocate.
Both of these mothers have lost loved ones to gun violence and believe the way to move forward is changing the narrative.
“Wake up and have love in your heart, wake up and think about someone other than yourself, wake up and have good intentions toward other people,” says Barron-Brown who grew up at the Second Avenue Center where young Tre’Quan was shot and killed outside. She says changing the narrative starts with the youth.
“Many of our kids are fearful, they are fearful of not knowing where they are going to eat, they are fearful of not knowing where they are going to lay their head, they are fearful of not knowing if mom and dad are not going to be in the home. That is why they are displaying anger, we need to open the doors to let them know we are here for them,” says Barron-Brown.