'We want change:' Morrisville moms, Durham church take action as death toll rises in mass shootings

Joel Brown Image
Thursday, June 2, 2022
Morrisville moms, Durham church call for action after mass shootings
From Morrisville moms to a Durham church, Triangle residents came together to remember victims and call for action to end the scourge of mass shootings across the nation.

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- In a semi-circle at Morrisville Community Park, clasping battery-powered candles, this group of Morrisville mothers prayed for the nation and an end to the mass bloodshed. They read the names of the victims from Uvalde to Buffalo; admitting they've been scared and mad about the mass shootings and now feeling a desperate need to do something.

"I just didn't want that fear and anger to paralyze me into action," said co-organizer Natasha Williams. "So tonight, in our own way, we want the world to know that we want change."

The event's other co-organizer, Sarah Sydney added, "The whole point of tonight is so that we don't just get back to business as usual; that we understand that we are a grieving community and that we stand with them and that we want action."

On the other end of the Triangle, community members came together at Durham's St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. The crowd was invited by Father Sandy Key, the church's new rector, to process the mass murders and talk about ways to make it stop.

"We have to start trying to find what makes us a community," said the Rev. Key.

The conversation brought all kinds of emotions to the surface. "I really do worry for the safety of our grandchildren now," said one parishioner. Another added, "I was very glad this meeting was called. Because I found myself with the last shooting being very angry, being very scared, being very sad."

The Rev. Key did a lot of listening. But, he has his own testimony about gun violence. Before he was called to the ministry, he was a Charleston, South Carolina, police officer. He took early retirement after he was shot in the line of duty.

"Does (being shot) hold me back? No, I think it teaches me the importance of forgiveness; teaches me the importance of really being there for each other," Key said. "Tonight is just about this conversation of how we move from the fear to trust to love."

Key billed the conversation as a safe space forum where all opinions were welcome. However, parishioners were encouraged not to leave their feelings in the church hall, but to write their senators and congressional representatives, the mayor and city council -- about possible policy fixes to the problems.