Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Longview NAACP, clergy decry violence, ask for action

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
LONGVIEW NEWS JOURNAL: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
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The Longview NAACP, Interdenominational Alliance and Clergy Coalition joined together Monday to decry heightened violence and call for prayer in the wake of this past week’s shooting death of a Longview man.
“We are tired of burying our young,” said Branden Johnson, president of the Longview NAACP. “I am upset that the good die young, mostly over nonsense. I am outraged that some perpetrators remain at large, protected by individuals in the community who will not fully cooperate with the police.”
Flanked by about a dozen clergy members, Longview Police Chief Don Dingler, City Councilwoman Kasha Williams and others, Johnson said the NAACP was formed more than 100 years ago to fight white mob violence against racial and religious minorities, but the level of outrage does not change when the color of the mob does.
The gathering and statement was prompted by the shooting a week ago that left 23-year-old DeAundray Rossum dead and at least two other people wounded.
“DeAundray’s death must be a call to action in our community,” Johnson said. “We cannot remain silent while our young people fall victim to these senseless acts of violence.”
The Rev. Gavin Vaverek, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, said he was supportive of all efforts to reduce violence in Longview.
“In the past, we’ve had outbreaks of violence and things did get better after the community responded with prayer and ongoing efforts to support one another, so I’m hopeful that’s what will happen this time,” he said.
Carol Ibarra, who is on the staff of the Women’s Center of East Texas, said she attended Monday’s event for both personal and professional reasons.
“On a personal level, I wanted to be here because I have kids and I want them to grow up in a safe community,” Ibarra said. “On a professional level, the Women’s Center of East Texas is focused on ending violence of any kind and we want to be supportive of all efforts to do so.”
Johnson urged all residents of the community to get involved with local civic or nonprofit agencies. Information on such agencies can be found on the Greater Longview United Way Infoline at (903) 236-9211.
Anyone with information on last week’s shooting may call Longview police Detective Kevin Freeman at (903) 237-1199, anonymously call Gregg County Crimestoppers at (903) 236-7867 or submit a tip online atwww.greggcountycrimestoppers.org.

Officials make plea for peace

Brandon Johnson, President of the Longview chapter of the NAACP, center, and members of the Longview Interdenominational Alliance and the Longview Clergy Coalition issued a joint statement Monday, May 21, 2012 at the Longview Public Library in reference to recent acts of violent crime. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)  View more photos.

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