‘It’s not the same Jackson that I grew up in’: residents grow tired of senseless killings in the Capital City

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 10:54 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The group, “Peace in the Streets,” held its first prayer march since the city of Jackson reached an unfortunate milestone of more than 100 homicides so far this year.

It was held in a shopping center off of Terry Road, which is an area where multiple shootings and homicides took place this year.

As of this article, Jackson has had 103 homicides on the year, with five occurring in just the first 12 days of September.

Those at the prayer march Sunday said they won’t put up with the senseless killings any longer. Some Jackson natives said they no longer recognize their hometown.

“It’s not the same Jackson that I grew up in,” Jackson native Albert Wilson said. “It’s a whole different Jackson.”

“I pray to God we can find some other way to settle our differences besides gun violence,” Jackson native Ernie Smith said.

Those in attendance said every person gunned down this year meant something to someone.

Smith’s cousin, for example, was one of the many victims. Another victim was Smith’s longtime friend Robert Williams - the beloved FedEx driver who was killed while sitting in his truck. Williams left behind a wife and seven children.

“Now they got to do the best that they can from what he taught them, so we just need to think about the decisions that we make,” Smith said. “We got to look at the end and outcome of it.”

Barbara Reed, the aunt of a Peace in the Streets organizer, drove all the way from Birmingham to go to Sunday’s march. Reed lived in Jackson for 20 years and said the violence is heartbreaking.

“We will no longer tolerate it,” Reed said. “We will no longer put up with it because prayer does change things. And it’s changing. It’s in the atmosphere.”

“We got to take a step and a stance for righteousness and try to let our voice be heard that, ‘hey, we’re tired of this. We’re not going to put up with it anymore,’” Wilson said. “We’re going to take back our city and do more positive things in Jackson.”

Peace in the Streets typically holds marches on the second Sunday of every month. The number of people who attend has roughly tripled since the very first one.

Organizers said they hope to fill an entire parking lot with people for the next one. To get involved, contact organizer John Hendricks at 601-988-7058.

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