LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Devin Norman, president and director of The Village 337, along with other city leaders and organizations, joined to host a healing event at Heymann Park Recreation Center Friday afternoon.

The event had a Cajun mobile theater, which is a mobile unit that has multiple gaming systems. There are activities inside and outside: face painting and opportunities to write letters about how impacts them. In addition, there will be some educators coming together to put together some activities. 

“This stems from the weekly town hall meetings we have been having. We had our second one this week on Monday. We heard Dr. Chris Williams and Bishop Gatlin talk about how the community needed healing and that we should do an event that would be a call to action, so to speak, of healing,” said Norman. “This is going to be the beginning of our 24-hour call for no shootings and no violence in Lafayette.” 

The Hub City local Heymann Park was the scene of over 100 shots of gunfire where three people were injured last Sunday. Norman said it is important for the community to do something and not turn a blind eye to the violence in the community. 

“We can not give up hope and say, well, this is senseless, or this won’t help, or this won’t do anything. As long as we keep that mindset, that will be true,” he said. “The reason why we are where we are today is because people have for too long said we’re going to take home and mind their business. It didn’t have anything to do with them. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Snitches get stitches. That mindset of it doesn’t have anything to do with me right now, so I’m not going to get involved. This is not going to stop anything. That is why we see the influx of crime that we see today.” 

He continues, “That’s why we see the desperation of organizations like the Village 337 calling out to the community, saying, please just give us 24 hours where we don’t have any violence. Where we don’t have any shootings or killings, that is the state that we are in, and we have to recognize it as a community otherwise, it will be your child next.” 

Norman told News 10 that if violence should take place in the community, they are ready to take action and march the streets for 30 days. 

“If something happens from now until tomorrow, you could definitely see us in the community tomorrow night praying and walking the streets and starting getting that 30 days started much earlier than we anticipated,” said Norman.

He said it is going to take the clergy leaders, people from the “hood,” as well as the leaders from the communities, the fathers, the grandfathers, and the uncles, who are aware of what is happening in the community. 

“It’s going to take all of us to unite and to march together, so that way these young people know that they have a community of people that are looking out for them and that wants to take care of them,” he said. 

Norman stressed that adults need to know they have the authority and influence to stop gun violence. 

“I think the biggest thing that we must recognize this time right now is that the adults and generations before my generation have more influence and power to change what’s happening because, again, the behavior that we see today is learned behavior. It’s just heightened because of social media, technology, and the mass production of weapons that we see, obviously,” he said. “So the gun problem or the problem of violence is not just a Black community issue. With these mass shootings that we see happening, racist lynching that we see happening. There’s just an issue that we have now in our society where everybody is turning to a gun to resolve their issues and to resolve their problems or a weapon that can have permanent destruction to resolve their issues, and that’s what we want to combat.”