Processional in Birmingham aims to slow violence


We've had a week full of devastating news stories. Some of which are still unsolved. A homicide over the weekend in the Gate City community left two young children dead{}and a mass shooting in Tuscaloosa injured 17. It's for stories like those, local organizations are working to send a loud message on area crime. Several anti-violence groups, along with city council members, and police gathered in the "Central Park" community an area often perceived as high in crime. Their message was certainly out of the ordinary and caught the eye of anyone traveling down the Bessemer Superhighway tonight.{}



"I know we can slow it up," Donald Shepard, the event organizer said. "If we can't stop it, I know we can slow it up."

What appeared to be a funeral procession traveling down Bessemer Superhighway- paints a picture of a story playing out all too often in the city of Birmingham.

"It gives the perception that there is an issue, there is a problem, you could see the number of cars stopping along Bessemer Superhighway to see what is going on," Jay Roberson, Birmingham city councilor said.

"It's great timing because we are trying to make people understand that they don't have to be scared to come to certain areas because all areas are not bad," Sgt. Becky White, Birmingham Police said. "We are just trying to make sure that we are out here for safety."

"If you look back on today, what happened in Colorado, what happened in Tuscaloosa, and the homicides recently we've had here in the city of Birmingham - enough is enough," Roberson said.

City leaders and law enforcement hope this sends {}an important message to the Central Park community.

"This is where you are going to end," Shepard said. "This is the only place you can go if you can continue to keep making the type of choice and decisions you're making in your life."

"Rodriguez was my son, he was 20 years old," Carolyn Johnson, his mother said. "He was shot and killed at a birthday party."

His mother is now committed to protecting other young adults in Birmingham.

"You don't have to turn to violence, you don't have to turn to crime and we are just pulling together as a community," Johnson said.

"We're going to keep going, we're going to do what we can," Shepard said.


The city of Birmingham, and these organizations are launching a new basketball program with NBA legends. It's aim is to help give inner city children something fun and safe to do. It will run every Saturday between now and the time school starts.