BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Dozens came together Sunday afternoon in Jefferson County to pay respects and show support for families who have lost loved ones to violent crimes in Birmingham.
The second annual program is called “One Heart in the Park”. It’s part of the 2019 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the event was held downtown at UAB. The program hits home for Carolyn Johnson-Turner. Her 20-year-old son Rodreckus was murdered in 2003.
“We are tired of burying our children and we are tired of our men and women being victims and we are tired of domestic violence. We just want a platform where we can make our voices be heard and do something about it” Turner said.
Rodreckus was hit by a stray bullet at a birthday party after several people started fighting and pulled out guns and shots were fired hitting the 20-year-old. Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway is
hoping One Heart in the park can help stop the violence.
“I would love to see our community come together, stop the violence and help one another and love
one another. I want them to know they can solve their conflict without resorting to pick up a gun
or hurting someone. Whatever it is lets come together and talk” Pettway said.
Forty local agencies were on hand Sunday afternoon set up in tents including the Jefferson County
Sheriff’s office, UAB police and the Alabama Attorney Generals office to name a few. The goal was to stand in solidarity with the families of victims and help connect them with agencies where they can get the help and support they need.
Carolyn Johnson-Turner says the program helps her ease some of the pain she feels after losing her son to violence.
“This one heart in the park is an awesome event an awesome experience because you see so many
people out here who have been affected by violence. They are showing unity and they are showing
that they want to take a stand together with others to make a difference”.
According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, there were more than 25 thousand violent crimes reported in Alabama in 2016. That’s a 13 percent increase from 2015.