YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown United As One held a community barbecue Sunday afternoon on Belmont Avenue downtown.
The ceasefire event aimed to help stop violence in the city. Those attending were aware there had been another shooting in Youngstown Sunday afternoon.
“All the love that has been shown, to bring the community together,” said Vazquez Family Ministry director Francine Vazquez.
She blessed the food provided by Slab City Bar-B-Que for free to neighbors at the event. Vazquez’s family ministry partnered with Youngstown United As One to put a stop to violence in the city.
“The event is to bring everyone together in unity. We want to stop all of the crime that has been riddling our community and we want to turn things around,” Vazquez said.
Multiple community groups pitched in to help, and Youngstown Police handed out gun locks. A prayer stand was also set up for people to use.
“We’re taking a stand… so when the city hits us with a negative punch with gun violence, we come back with a positive punch by making a stand and taking action,” said Darrell Jones, Youngstown United As One president.
Even Mayor Tito Brown showed his support and urged the community to come together and help.
“I can’t do it by myself. The chief of police can’t do it. So we need the community to come and do their part, and this is what’s happening today,” Brown said.
The importance of anti-violence grew even bigger after a homicide on Youngstown’s south side earlier in the day. The barbecue let people share how they felt about the crimes.
“The decisions you make affect the people around you. It’s not just you [who] you’re hurting, it’s your family and then the outside community,” said Malik Mostella, a Youngstown police officer.
“No one’s winning. That’s our whole message, no one’s winning… come on guys, enough is enough,” Jones said.
Youngstown United As One has more events planned throughout the summer.
They hope to keep bringing more unity to the community with their work.
“We have people just coming together, talking among each other and just trying to come up with solutions on how we’re going to end this senseless killing and violence,” Jones said.