Hundreds rally to stop violence in downtown Greenville

GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Hundreds of people gathered outside the Peace Center in downtown Greenville Monday evening to remember all of the people in the Upstate who lost their lives to gun violence.

The group Freedom Fighters placed 51 crosses in memory of the victims at the “MLK Day Stop the Violence Rally.”

“He spoke non-violence and at the peak of his career, and his life was taken through violence,” Fant said.

She said the purpose of the rally was to keep the conversation going.

People who had lost loved ones as well as survivors of gun violence were all in the crowd.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” said Sybil Smith who was shot 14 times and left for dead in Laurens County in July of 2006.

“The first thing I felt was pow,” Smith said. “Pow. Pow. Shooting me over and over again.”

She even keeps one of the bullets removed from her stomach around her neck as a reminder.

“Only by God’s grace and his strength I am here today,” Smith said.

She, unlike so many other mothers in the crowd, is still here to see her sons grow up.

There were also the kids who will never truly know their parents.

“She didn’t deserve to die that way,” said RaKendra Wilson who lost her cousin, Keondra Rosemond, to gun violence. “She didn’t deserve to be shot and left in that car that way, and he didn’t deserve to lose his mom at three-years-old.”

She says a piece of her family will always be missing.

“When we get together and take our picture, we always leave a gap where she was,” Wilson said.

Although there was a common heartache among the crowd, they also had a unified message. “Stop killing each other,” Wilson said. “It’s not worth it.”

Freedom Fighters say they’re also pushing to have more cold cases solved in 2017.

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