OPELOUSAS, La. — An event in Opelousas aims to inspiring people, especially children, to put the guns down.
Through community engagement and activities for children, the city’s police department is hoping to bridge the gap between officers and residents.
Eric Williams, the founder of Guns Down Power Up, says he lost two of his family members to gun violence. That’s when he said enough is enough.
“I believe this program will spark people to get off the bench and get into the game,” he said.
He hopes that by giving kids things to do that keeps them mentally active, like playing chess, gun violence in Opelousas will come to a stop.
“A chess board puts a table before you in the presence of your enemy,” he said. “Where you can talk about your problems, you can talk about the situation, instead of letting it escalate.”
He wants Opelousas residents to know that police officers are there for them.
“Police officers care about their community,” he said. “This is something that they’re sponsoring, this is something officer Yolanda Lewis reached out to us about.”
The event was planned by the city’s police department. Officer Yolanda Lewis hopes that the distance between residents and officer gets smaller and smaller with every event.
“Our police department is behind them one hundred percent,” said Lewis. “If they need anyone to talk to, they can always walk up to a police officer and talk. We’re here for them – the kids, the parents. And all we want everyone to do is come together in the community and put the guns down, power up.”
Officer Lewis says although they have seen gun violence amongst young people, things are pretty quiet as of lately.
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