Church to host forum on gun violence

Published 3:45 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Saturday Academy for Positive Self Development will host a community discussion on gun violence in Main Street Baptist Church on Dec. 18.

The forum will run from 10 a.m. to noon in the church’s Williams Mission Center and cover topics such as “understanding the facts” on gun violence, “how to take action against community gun violence” and “building relationships with legislators.”

“We’ve had some mishaps here in Smithfield with gun violence,” said Barbara Wiggins, one of the event’s organizers.

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“It’s been a consistent issue in America,” added Jared Manlove, another organizer.

The idea behind the forum, he said, is to get a younger audience engaged with the church and off the streets.

The Saturday Academy, according to its website, is a service that “brings together parents and their children and provides them with a controlled forum for the free expression of problems they perceive to exist between them, the school, community and penal system with a view towards mutual understanding and respect.”

Isle of Wight County Sheriff James Clarke Jr. and Smithfield Police Chief Alonzo Howell are invited to attend the forum, Wiggins said.

Admission is free and open to the public, but attendees will be required to be vaccinated or wear a mask upon entry. Seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve seating, attendees can call 757-357-2604 or email Light refreshments will be served.