Residents take a stand on violence

On Dec. 29, I attended a meeting with a group of individuals that are concerned about the violence in our community.

I learned that Bishop Fredrick Williams' family had recently suffered through a very painful and traumatic event, the brutal murder of his sister. Out of this awful life changing event, he began an initiative, what is now known as the "Stop the Violence, T.A.K.I.N.G. A.U.T.H.O.R.I.T.Y." movement.

On Jan. 9, a Citywide All Male Summit was held at the Albany State University ACAD auditorium. Over 600 citizens, ranging from young boys and girls to senior citizens, attended this event. They heard from various community leaders and individuals that have been affected by crime or violence.

T.A.K.I.N.G. A.U.T.H.O.R.I.T.Y. stands for Teamwork And Kindness Including Next Generation Albanians United Together Helping Our Region Inspire Today's Youth. This movement includes clergy, judges, attorneys, physicians, teachers, fraternities, mentoring groups, elected officials, law enforcement officials, and concerned citizens who are committed to eliminating violence in our neighborhoods. I have seldom been so inspired by a grass-roots initiative.

The "Stop the Violence T.A.K.I.N.G. A.U.T.H.O.R.I.T.Y." movement is growing and is planning an event to promote youth and unity in the community. This event is Albany's City of Champions Hoopfest Extravaganza and is expected to impact over 5,000 citizens. The premier event is scheduled to start on Thursday, April 15, with an opening ceremony and dinner and conclude on Sunday, April 18. More than 50 teams comprised of 7- to 17-year-old boys and girls are expected to participate, which creates an opportunity for you to become involved.

Because of the high level of interest and large response, there will be seven windows of opportunity provided for the participants during this event. They are: Counseling, Education, Entrepreneurialship, Leadership Training, Mentorship, Parenting and Spiritual Renewal.

This is where you may be able to assist in this endeavor. If you believe you can offer your service in any of these seven areas or would like to volunteer during this event, please make it a point to attend one of the 10 a.m. meetings held each Tuesday at Gethsemane Worship Center located at 529 10th Ave.

If you are unable to attend any of these meetings, or are not able to actually get involved, you may make a contribution or sponsor a team. Your donation or sponsorship is tax deductible and can be made by calling (229) 438-0388.

This initiative is another chance for you to help. This is your opportunity to make a difference. Through your sponsorship or involvement, you are making an impact and sending a message that you want a better and safer community for our children.

I want to commend all of the supporters of this movement and ask that you join us in this endeavor. If you have any questions or concerns or need more information, please contact me at (229) 430-6508.

Sheriff Kevin Sproul is a longtime resident of Dougherty County. He is a graduate of Albany High School, Darton College and LaGrange College of Albany. Sproul has been employed with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office for 27 years and can be reached at (229) 430-6508.