As a community group that works to combat violence gathered one recent day, frustrated by the violent end of 2013 and start of 2014, they wondered: How can we take a more visible stand?

The group, called People United to Take Back Our Community, decided to hold a rally and candlelight vigil on the day Americans honor a pastor who preached nonviolence and justice for all residents, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The group, also called The Coalition, wants to bring attention to the recent spate of local violence, including three North Charleston women shot inside their homes within two miles of each other on New Year’s Day. Two of the women died.

“Dr. King’s dream of a peaceful world has somehow turned into a nightmare for many in our community who have lost loved ones to violent crime. Our world should never be that way, and we do not have to settle for it being that way,” said Thomas Dixon, pastor of Summerville Christian Fellowship and the group’s co-founder.

The Coalition will hold a rally at 4:30 p.m. Monday in downtown Charleston’s Marion Square.

The rally coincides with the MLK Holiday Parade, which ends at the park earlier that afternoon.

Those affected by homicide and other violence are encouraged to light candles at the rally to remember loved ones.

This will mark The Coalition’s fifth Stop the Violence rally since it was formed in 2012 to fight guns and drugs in North Charleston, focusing on its Dorchester-Waylyn neighborhood.

“There are a whole lot more good people in the world than there are bad guys,” Dixon said. “But the good people must unite and stand as one with a unified message that we will no longer tolerate this indiscriminate violence and crime.”

For more, call 437-1949 or email Dixon at

Reach Jennifer Hawes at 937-5563 or subscribe to her at