Rally commemorates ‘Pooh's birthday
Law enforcement also buys back 19 guns
Published: Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 8:40 p.m.
Dreary skies and a constant drizzle of rain didn't keep several hundred people from coming out to support a rally held to stop violence and get guns off the streets.
Organized by Robert Dore, founder of Swamplandent, the "Save Our City: Stop the Violence Rally" was held last Saturday afternoon at Village and Forest Green Apartments to commemmorate the life of the late Jearicka "Pooh" Mack, who was shot to death in May during a senseless act of violence. Jearicka would have turned 16 on Dec. 8.
Supported by the Black on Black Crime Task Force, the Gainesville Police Department, People Against Violence Enterprises Inc. and the 8th Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office, Dore said the event was held to get guns off the streets and to spread the message about the need for senseless acts of violence to come to an end.
"I was born and raised in Gardenia (Gardens Apartments on NE 8th Avenue) with Pooh's parents, and I just wanted to do something to honor her birthday and to stop violence in our city," Dore said.
The State Attorney's Office and GPD bought 19 guns from people with no questions asked at the event and at Upper Room Church of God in Christ located just north of Village/Forest Green.
Darry Lloyd, an investigator with the State Attorney's Office's gun unit, said law enforcement officials decided to have a gun buyback to coincide with the event because it was a way to get guns off the streets.
"We didn't think we were going to get any at one point, but then they started coming in," said Lloyd, adding that a gun was turned in by a 15-year-old who didn't know a bullet was in the chamber. "Those are the kinds of people we are trying to get guns out of the hands of."
Lloyd said the $2,400 paid out for the guns came from forfeiture funds at GPD and the State Attorney's Office.
The event also included performances by local dancer Howard Anderson Jr., who danced to the song, "Bebot" by the Black Eyed Peas before performing as local gospel rappers Clarence "C-Dub" Williams and Nova Hart sang several songs together.
Jearick Mack and Trenesha Thomas, the parents of Jearicka, who attended the event, both said they don't want anybody else to be killed like their daughter.
"Hopefully, this will prevent other kids from having their lives end too early," Mack said. "We are just out here trying to save these kids. My baby was all about love, and I am just out here trying to show some love and tell everybody to stop the violence."
Mack said he would like to be able to go to schools and talk to students about the impact violence can have on people's lives and how it can be avoided.
Thomas said she was honored to be a part of the event.
"It just don't hurt the people that lose somebody, it hurts everybody involved," Thomas said. "I just really want to be involved in trying to help people come together. I know we can't completely stop this from happening, but we can try to prevent it. This (Jearicka's death) hurt me real, real, real bad, and I would hate to see another mother go through the same thing."