NEW ORLEANS -- People with different life stories gathered in neighborhoods across the New Orleans metro area Tuesday night, unified by one goal -- to stop the violence.
"Running the streets, getting caught up messing with drugs,” said William Johnson, a Safe Streets volunteer.
The National Night out Against Crime in Central City was William Johnson's first. After spending two and a half years behind bars, he's had a change of heart and wants to send a message to younger generations.
“They need to wake up and stop and pause for a minute and think to rationalize their thoughts before they just react,” Johnson said.
React is what someone did when they pumped Rebecca Glover's granddaughter with bullets, ending the 29-year-old's life.
“My granddaughter was murdered. She was walking home and someone called her to this truck and they shot her,” Glover said.
Melba Ricard lost her 28-year-old son to a drug overdose, but she said there's more to his senseless death.
“My son was 28 years old when he was found in a CBD hotel. To this day I haven't gotten justice, and no answers,” Ricard said.
They are cautionary tales told by those impacted by crime. They were joined by other residents calling for real community-supported change on the streets of New Orleans.
“We're encouraging the community to come out. Let’s reconvene the village, let’s work together,” said Tamara Jackson of Silence is Violence. “United we stand, divided we fall.”
On the West Bank at Regular Baptist Church in Gretna, community members also gathered in support of safer streets at an anti-crime block party.
“If we can save one life, one crime being prevented, then it’s well worth it,” said Regular Baptist Church Deacon Milton Crosby Jr.
Doretta Lane has two sons in college, and she said she's tired of seeing young lives destroyed.
“Look in your own backyard. there is a child that needs you,” she said. “We as a community will stand behind our young people to make sure we educate them, let them know that we love them and that we care about them, and that there future is important to us.”