Thomasville Anti-Gun Violence March calls for community support

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) – Singing and singing filled the streets of Thomasville Saturday as some residents came together to fight gun violence in their community.

Think before you react, an organization in Thomasville, has been trying for years to end gun violence in the community and while the organization’s leaders see improvement, they say there is still work to be done.

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Many gin-related incidents have occurred in the Thomasville community.(WALB)

“I saw so many shootings in Thomasville. As a city councilor and pastor, I have a passion for this,” said Terry Scott, Thomasville City Commissioner and President of Think Before You Re-Act. “I went twice to Iraq, not once did I have to use my weapon. Two tours there, but I’m coming back from the state side, and I see driving by shootouts, in my own neighborhood.

After Scott saw a man shot in the head, he said he knew he had to take action and create efforts to make his community safer.

“Once we make the community more aware of this, the less they will experience gun violence. If we see something, let’s say something, I call that being a preventer and preventing something from happening in your community,” he said.

Two Albany natives who have been impacted by gun violence also joined the march. Xavier Bickerson turned his life around after serving four years in prison for his involvement in gun violence. He said he hopes to take his message to the young people of Albany to have an impact on his community as well.

“Gun violence in Albany and gun violence in Thomasville are totally different. In Albany, you’re pretty much afraid to go out. So I can continue to let the people of Albany know that we need to start thinking before we react, because when we think before we react, every action has a consequence behind it,” he said.

Some residents hope to make their community safer by raising awareness.(WALB)

During the march, residents paid tribute to those who lost their lives to gun violence.

“It’s very bad. As you can see as we walked, we probably stopped at four or five different places where the gun violence happened and it’s not people we don’t know, it’s are people we are close to, people we know, these are people we see on the streets day in and day out,” said Keith Mcintyre, a march participant.

Thomasville resident Samuel Williams said participating in the walk was his way of giving back to the community.

“I’ve lived here all my life. All the dirt I’ve done to the community, it’s time to give something back,” he said.

Antwaun Billingsly also came from Albany to share his story. He said not only was he shot, but he also served time in prison after getting involved in gun-related activities. After seeing that it was impacting his family, he decided to change his ways.

“I just want to enlighten people and give them courage and let them know they can do better because I do better,” Billingsly said.

The Thomasville organization not only fights gun violence, but also offers mentoring...
The Thomasville organization not only fights gun violence, but also provides mentorship to youth.(WALB)

According to Think Before You Re-act, nearly 85,000 people suffer non-fatal gunshot wounds. Event organizers also claim that firearms are the second leading cause of death among 1-24 year olds.

Williams said all gun-related deaths could be prevented if people learned to love each other.

“People have to learn to live with each other. If we can’t live with anyone, it’s going to make a lot of things worse,” he said.

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