AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As of 2022, Amarillo was the fourth most violent city in Texas according to the FBI, and some community activists are aiming to help the city lose that status with awareness and organization.
As part of that effort, the “Gentlemen vs. Gun Violence” event has been set for Saturday, Sept. 16, at 3 p.m. in Bones Hooks Park. Organizers said the event will include speakers as well as a raffle for a mini-motorcycle costing $55 per ticket.
The message of the event: too much gun violence, affecting too many families, and taking too many lives in the area.
“We’re just trying to find out, how can we end all this gun violence?” said Tonya Winston, a community activist and lifelong Amarillo resident. “What can we do to get to the root of the problem? Amarillo is number four on the list in Texas. A year ago, we was right at 355 shootings. So we’re trying to bring everyone together in the community to get their opinions, their voice, and how they feel.”
Winston says she supports the Second Amendment but encourages people to think before they pick up a gun because the consequences are far-reaching.
“Don’t be so quick to hurt somebody, because hurt people hurt people. Anytime someone is shot, injured by gun violence that is someone’s child, that is somebody else’s child,” she said.
Winston told MyHighPlains.com, that she’s had four family members injured or killed by gun violence, including her cousin Laura Ashley, who was shot and killed randomly on her way home in September 2021.
As for how we can begin to reduce the number, Winston has a challenge for area men.
“We need more gentlemen, to be a part of this awareness. Back in the day, when I was coming up. You were around gentlemen, what has happened to our gentleman? Where are the gentleman today? Young men need to look up to great men so that they can have a opportunity to be a grown man and not a grown man with a little boy inside his body,” she explained.
She said because she knows all too well what these families are going through.
“My heart goes out to all the mothers, the fathers, the sisters, the brothers, the aunts, the uncles, the cousins, friends who have lost loved ones,” she noted emphatically.
For more ways on how you can help reduce gun violence in the area, click here.