May 31, 2022 – Savannah Pastors Alliance, on with Asbury Memorial Church, Red Letter Christians, Moms Demand Stock, and Full Circle Hospice Savannah, have partnered with activist and religious leader Shane Claiborne to recognize National Gun Violence Awareness Month with a ‘beat guns‘ an event. This community-wide event, supporting awareness of gun violence prevention, will be be held of 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 4 at the First African Baptist Church, 23 Montgomery Street (Franklin Square).
The Savannah City Council, County Commissioner and District Attorney will attend. The event will be begin at the First African Baptist Church with a keynote address by Reverend Sharon Risher, whose family was killed in the 2015 Emanuel AME Church mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. Participants will then proceed to Franklin Square where the event continue to featuring testimonies from local survivors explaining the tribulations of gun violence, spoken word performances by youth from the Deep Center’s Block by Block program, musical performance by Huxsie Scottand Dance performances by the Royal Ambassadors. Gun violence survivors will be invited to turn a gun into a functional garden tool with the help of a blacksmith.
“The mission of this event is to address the the proliferation of guns on our streets, to say that we can build better tools to live together harmoniously, to honor victims, and to offer surviving family circles a therapeutic way to express their anger and grief over the loss of ‘loved ones’, said Reverend Claire Marich, Local Beating Guns Event Coordinator and Associate Minister of Asbury Memorial Church.
Participants will be invited to interact with community partners during a meeting at the end of the program. Bereavement counselors will be on hand to assist those in need duration of this event. Those planning to attend the ‘Beating Guns’ event are encouraged to wear orange in support of National Gun Violence Awareness Month.
“We look forward to this opportunity to raise awareness of the prevalence of gun violence and the need for peace in our community,” declared Reverend Marich. “His an honor to work alongside these activists, religious leaders and community partners to present this important testimony of hope in the face of ongoing gun violence.
Community members will have the opportunity to hear Claibadorned again on Sunday, June 6 during the 11:15 a.m. worship service at Asbury Memorial Church, 1008 E Henry Street.
Claiborne has hosted the hard-hitting event in cities across the country, but this will be the first time “Beating Guns” has taken place in Savannah. The ‘Beating Guns’ initiative, stemming from a book of the same title written by Claiborne and Michael Martin, empowers victims and perpetrators of gun violence to tell their own compelling stories, offering hope for change and helping to reimagine the world as one that passes from death to life, where swords become plows and guns are turned into garden tools.