County residents march in solidarity to ‘Heal the Hood’

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — A group of local pastors rallied together to bring awareness to Middle Georgia’s gun-violence issue.

Close to 100 Bibb County residents showed up to “Heal the Hood” by marching in solidarity.

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‘Heal the Hood’ is a new initiative that aids in the fight against gun violence and promotes unity. Supporters say Pastors Bryant Raines, Christopher Cabiness, and Belvin Ware may be onto something.

“Have something to talk about that’s positive,” said L.J Malone, a Macon resident. “When you see people come together like this. This is beautiful, this is great.”

The importance of outlets

Macon has seen seven homicides so far this year. CMD Styles, a recording artist from Macon, says that’s partially because kids have no outlets.

“We had options, the skating rink,” shared the local rapper. “We had teen nights and talent shows... outlets to channel that energy.”

Mayoral candidate Cliffard Whitby says another reason the city sees an uptick in violence is that “the community is failing the youth.”

Whitby said, “By the parents, by the systems, by the school system, by the government themselves…We have a responsibility to raise healthy young people and prepare them for the world they got to live in.”

Whitby says his mayoral candidacy has nothing to do with his intentions to support a peaceful Macon.

“I’ve been in this community. I work with these organizations. This is not my first rodeo being conscious and doing the things that’s in the best interest of this community,” said Whitby. 

The march ended at City Hall. Afterward, supporters prayed together — leaving a sense of hope in the air.