Stop The Violence focus of celebration

Jul. 28, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

Laughter, basketball, hamburgers and a little bit of Wobble — that’s a dance, y’all — marked the first ever Stop The Violence celebration Saturday.

The Sandhills Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Get Smart Inc., a local child care facility, held the inaugural event at Horton Park, located at 1515 Washington Ave., to offer a free and safe event within the neighborhood, according to Deidra Baker-Baldwin, one of the celebration’s organizers.

“We want to collaborate with the community and find how how we can help out and give back,” she said.

Everyone is impacted by violent crimes, Baker-Baldwin said, and Sanford has to rally together to curb the onslaught. The block party offers a safe space to discuss recent crimes and how to help while still having fun, she said.

“We are right in the heart of it,” she said. “And we can’t turn a blind eye to it. We have to let people know we are here to help and to get law enforcement in here.”

The sorority alumnae members hope to continue the block parties every few months, according to the alumnae President and Get Smart Director Ke’Sha Ridges, and find ways to spur the community into taking action against local crime.

“We have to get people at the table,” she said. “We want to turn this into formal meetings to tackle the violence in the city. We have a lot of resources in the sisterhood, but we need to hear from people about how to help.”

Patti Mellette, co-pastor at Christian Provision Ministries, said she attended the block party because she was interested in supporting the community.

“Everyone is affected by the violence,” she said. “Events like these are important to gain that solidarity.”

The party included a DJ, basketball and kickball tournaments, food, dancing and various information on businesses and nonprofits.