Coalition 01

Relatives and friends of Cody Hawkins are seeking to join the families of other victims of gun violence in order to make changes in their communities and make their neighborhoods safer.

Enough is enough.

The loved ones of the Greenwood men who have died in recent gun violence are taking a stand against the forces that spark shootings.

On Sunday afternoon, relatives and friends of Cody Hawkins and others who have lost their lives in recent weeks gathered at the Greenwood County Library to plan their next steps. Shanna Childs, Hawkins’ godmother, said the plan is to form a coalition dedicated to making their communities safer and keeping the public’s eye on the need for solutions to this violence.

“These last couple of weeks we’ve felt hopeless with no breaks in the case,” she said. “But this is a meeting of the minds, of mothers wanting help, wanting to solve it — not just wanting, but demanding a ceasefire.”

Hawkins was shot in an apparent drive-by shooting May 19 on Pearl Street and died at the hospital while being treated. His slaying is one of four homicides Greenwood's law enforcement agencies are investigating:  Zykevious Ramsey was shot and killed June 4, Quatavious Freeman was killed July 15, 2018 and Tadarrius Robinson was killed July 25, 2018.

“These families are fed up. That’s why we’re coming together. We want to call a ceasefire,” said Traci Fant, an organizer with Freedom Fighters Upstate SC, a Greenville-based volunteer organization dedicated to uniting communities. “People need to see people stand up. People need to see people say enough is enough, no more lives lost.”

By bringing the families of the slain men together, Fant said the hope is that their voices will be better heard by others in Greenwood, as well as by law enforcement. Neighbors will be inspired to take efforts to help keep the community safe and solve crimes, and law enforcement will be pushed to exhaust every available lead and thread in an investigation, Fant said.

Though Childs called Fant in to help coordinate this group, Fant said it’s important that the families take the lead in planning their activities and actions. At Sunday’s meeting, they discussed strategies about fundraising for neighborhood cameras, reward money offers and how to organize community watch groups.

“Every victim of this violence has affected this community, but Cody’s really hurt me,” Childs said.

The group is working on a press conference where they will announce their goals and future efforts, but, for now, they’ll be trying to get more families involved to form the coalition Childs hopes will make a big change in Greenwood.

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.