'We are trapped in trauma:' Survivors and city leaders set to rally in Raleigh to end gun violence

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- At 7 p.m. Friday night, the switch was flipped to light Raleigh's Shimmer Wall in orange -- the color of gun violence awareness. There's likely to be a sea of orange T-shirts Saturday morning for the city's gun violence awareness rally. As the Triangle has seen more than its share of people lost to gun crime, Saturday is a chance for survivors to lead the way toward change.

"I was terrified," said Alicia Campbell describing her emotion watching the video of the wild gunfight in Henderson that made news this week. The frantic scene hit especially close to home for this Vance County mom who doesn't live far from the shootout.

The senseless gun violence in front of that gas station felt all too similar to the senselessness that killed Campbell's 21-year-old son, Ahmad, nearly six years ago when he went to an off-campus house party during his junior year at North Carolina A&T.

"Somebody from the outside had an altercation or something outside," Campbell recalls. "And someone shot back into the apartment and a bullet hit Ahmad."

In the years since Campbell has become an advocate for stronger gun laws. She'll be wearing her orange on Saturday as a featured speaker at Raleigh's gun violence awareness event at Chavis Park.

"I'm doing it for Ahmad and all the others," Campbell said. "Because I can't imagine the pain that these other parents are feeling. I know that pain is a daily pain that never goes away."

Kashinda Marche is the community outreach chair of Raleigh-Apex NAACP. The civil rights group is also a part of Saturday's rally. Marche has made it her mission to normalize the conversation around mental health and mental illness.

"It's almost like we are trapped in trauma," said Marche. "I think if we delve in a little deeper and make that area of our lives a bit healthier, we might not see as many tragedies."

Back in Vance County, Campbell is trying to transform her trauma of gun violence into change.

"I'm ready. I want to do something. I want to be a part of the movement," she said.
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