MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Dozens gathered inside Thomas Chapel Missionary Baptist church on Saturday morning to discuss a reign of terror in the aftermath of several shootings. Organizers with Camp Chambers CSI, Inc, hosted a forum on Bullying, Gun Violence and Parenting.

It’s no surprise that a Memphis church was a safe-haven for young people following several violent attacks across the area.

A mass shooting at the Kroger in Collierville left 15 people hurt, with one person dying from her injuries.

One week later, a 13-year-old shot a school-mate inside Cummings K-8 Optional School in South Memphis.

Unfortunately, those hosting the forum say the struggle to stop violent attacks can only happen with a community united. The forum turned into a reminder that it takes everyone rallying together to build-up a sense of community.

“Parents, your children need you. Your children need you. Listen to what I’m saying,” said Franky Taylor, a guest speaker at the event.  

Terri Hines, a woman who admitted to being a 7-time felon, also shared some simple, yet powerful words.

“We can’t blame the lawyers, or prosecutors, the DA, the judge. They have a job and their job is to protect this city,” Hines said. “We matter.”

It’s a past that put her on a path to face Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich years ago in court.

“With the thousands and thousands of cases that our office touches every year that is all we hope to happen with everyone that we touch is that, that offender never comes back. What is it going to take for this offender to never come back in the system,” said Weirich.

Hines is now a business owner that is thanking the woman who helped prosecute her.

Maintaining an open door for dialogue is complex problem with a simple solution at a time when the young are having to navigate a new norm in the midst of a pandemic.

It isn’t just COVID, but crime that’s threatening our children — in particular gun violence. That was one of the many tough topics discussed straight through those doors for a much-needed community conversation.

Similar gatherings will be held every Saturday from 8:30 AM – 1 PM throughout the month of October at the following locations:

October 9th – Urban Beauty Barber Institute – 3250 Coleman Rd.

October 16th – Thomas Chapel Missionary Baptist Church – 2539 New Raleigh Rd.

October 23rd – Greater Faith Temple Minstries – 905 E. Shelby Dr.

October 30th – Thomas Chapel Missionary Baptist Church – 2539 New Raleigh Rd.