Keyonia Royal went to a “Stop the Violence” rally on Monday in tribute to her mother, Janet Royal.
Janet Royal, 52, was inside her North Charleston home on New Year’s Day when someone fired shots from outside and killed her. She was one of three women shot in separate incidents on Jan. 1 that North Charleston police are investigating and believe to be related.
“It’s just senseless murder due to gun violence,” Keyonia Royal said.
Standing in Charleston’s Marion Square at the rally made Keyonia feel better. She said she hoped her presence sent a message that guns aren’t the answer, and that change needs to happen so no family again would experience what hers has.
“Some people don’t follow (Martin Luther King Jr.’s) dream,” she said. “They just are killing and shooting innocent people.”
People United To Take Back Our Community, a coalition of concerned citizens and activists, capped off the Martin Luther Kind Jr. holiday by gathering more than 70 residents for a rally and candlelight vigil.
The rally was intended to motivate the community to join together and take a stand against violent crime. The candlelight vigil was to honor the victims of violent crime and show support for their family and friends.
“It’s time to stop the violence,” Pastor Thomas Dixon, who leads the coalition, told the crowd. “It’s time to love one another. It’s time to take back our community.”
He called on those present to take action when they see crimes being committed in their neighborhoods and community.
“We must have neighbors in our neighborhood and we must have unity in our community if we are to survive,” he said.
Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or (843) 937-5546.