Bishop Frederick Williams Sr., founder of the Stop the Violence organization in Dougherty County, speaks Sept. 7, 2012, to the Exchange Club in Albany.
ALBANY — Following the violent murder of his sister in 2009, Bishop Frederick Williams Sr. founded the Stop the Violence organization in Dougherty County.
“I started it to rally the community to Stop the Violence because with crime we all pay,” Williams said at the noon Friday Exchange Club of Albany meeting. “There is no race or creed to it; it is just crime.”
Speaking before the community-based club that dedicates itself to the fight against and the hoped for eradication of child abuse, Williams found an enthusiastic audience.
The speaker said that children start to turn toward crime and gangs as young as 8 years old. He said there is a lot the community can do to stop the trend.
“People are not born to do crime,” Williams said. “There is a series of events that pushes them into crime.”
Children join gangs because their family has failed them, Williams said. When the family fails to deliver love, respect and the feeling of belonging, it is up to the community to tell youths that the way to those virtues is not through gang membership.
The gang culture in Dougherty County says it is all right to steal, fight and do wrong. Because of poverty, many young people join right in, Williams said. It is normal for many not to have Christmas or birthday presents, satisfying meals or a family member to guide them. Their hope is gone.
“They grow up with no love and no protection,” Williams said. “When they grow up, they just do what they think they gotta do.”
That can change. Williams said he has succeeded in having people of all races, creeds and opinions sit down to discuss and plan more actions to turn the tide.
He invited the Exchangites and all who are interested in improving the community to come to the 10 a.m. Stop the Violence Meetings on Tuesdays at 529 10th Ave.