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Block party, meeting planned as part of Columbia anti-violence effort

Civil rights group leaders, City Council members and Columbia residents are planning multiple events to help curb gun violence.

Glenn Cobbins, a community activist, said he and others are set to host a block party near Rice Road and McKee Street. Police have investigated multiple shootings in the Northeast Columbia neighborhood in the past two weeks alone.

Cobbins said a community-oriented event will give people in the area hope, and “let them know that the whole town is watching, the whole town is prayerful, the whole town is concerned, the whole town wants to be unified.”

The event will start at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Cobbins said, and is open to the public. He added that public safety and community development are both threatened by the recent uptick in violent crime.

“We got kids coming up, younger kids coming up, man, that could easily get shot or hurt in some type of violent incident. So we have to band together, that’s it.”

The local NAACP, headed by Mary Ratliff, is also working with the City Council and other local groups to hold a community-wide meeting later in October.

“I think we are in an… urgent emergency situation,” Ratliff said. The meeting will be held at Second Baptist Church at 7 p.m on Oct. 18.

Ratliff and Cobbins both said a goal of the events is to communicate directly with those at the center of some of the recent deadly incidents.

“If you can get them involved and really see the difference that they can make, you have a better chance of keeping them (out of trouble),” Ratliff said.

“Silence is consent. If you see someone doing something that’s so detrimental to our neighborhood and you don’t say anything, then you just did it yourself,” Cobbins said.


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