Barbara Perry, a native of Rocky Mount, is planning an event for Jan. 18 that advocates for less violence in the Twin Counties.
The Stop the Violence-Room for Resilience event will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. at Golden East Crossing mall.
Perry grew up in Rocky Mount and left in 2017 to move to Charlotte for a job.
But she keeps up with the community via friends and family and the Facebook social media page, 252 Hoodnewzz. She says her love for her hometown community has inspired her to stay involved with Rocky Mount.
“I was raised in Rocky Mount my entire life until I relocated to Charlotte,” Perry said. “By being a member of the 252 Hoodnewzz page, I was seeing reports of lots of violent activities taking place back at home related to gun violence. So I thought it would be appropriate and much needed to start a conversation within my hometown community about what we can do to create a better environment for our children.”
Perry said she reached out to her contacts in the area and has organized the event with mostly donated services.
“I’ve put together a panel of leaders from the community that have the experience, knowledge and testimonies that will create a conversation amongst the crowd and hopefully address gun violence, domestic violence and bullying,” Perry said.
The Stop the Violence–Room for Resilience panel will have a question-and-answer session that will let the audience voice their concerns and ask questions. Panelists will include Mandrell Bridgers, a certified youth counselor, advocate for social justice and security company owner; Natakey Page Owens, an author and motivational speaker; and Katrice Johnson, organizer of a youth mentoring group and bullying prevention program.
Perry said the event is for entire family. There will be a DJ, step teams, dance teams, open mic talent show and barbers and braiders to give the kids a free hair cut or a simple style for girls.
Leroy Thomas, the administrator of the 252 Hoodnewzz Facebook page, said he’s glad to hear about the event and looks forward to helping to promote it on his social media community news page.
Thomas has been publishing on the 252 Hoodnewzz since 2016 and said he’s excited to learn about Perry’s efforts to improve the community.
“I will definitely help promote the event on our page and will be there to support the event. And I’m glad Ms. Perry and other people who have moved away still keep up with their hometown news and want to help the area.”
Thomas estimates about 25 percent of his followers are people who are from the Twin Counties but currently live somewhere else.
Perry said she has high hopes for the event and is looking forward to coming home.
“It’s a free event for families and I pray that we can walk out of the building of Golden East mall with the vision of creating the ‘Real’ City on the Rise,” Perry added.