SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Asbury Memorial Church commemorated the five-year anniversary of their Ribbons for a Reason initiative on Wednesday, which remembers victims of gun violence and brings awareness to the nation’s gun violence problem.
Each year, church leaders tie orange ribbons to the fence in front of Asbury Memorial every time gun violence claims the life of someone in the community. Ribbons that are currently displayed on the fence represent the lives lost so far in 2020.
Church leaders and Anne Allen Westbrook, a gun violence prevention advocate, met Wednesday to provide insight on the dangers of gun violence in the United States.
Westbrook says the memorial serves as a visual reminder and representation of the devastation caused by gun violence in Savannah and across the country.
“Young men of color are particularly susceptible to losing their lives to gun violence,” Westbrook said. “Every one of them leaves behind a mother who is heartbroken. That hole never gets filled. That reaches me as a mother.”
During the pandemic, domestic violence has contributed to these statistics.
“We need to work for solutions to gun violence prevention in our community,” Westbrook said.
Since the Ribbons for a Reason initiative began in 2015, 212 ribbons have been displayed along the church’s fence. Eighteen of these victims were under the age of 18.
The number of victims in 2020 is already higher than last year, with 25 deaths — three of which were under the age of 18.
“The problem is multifaceted,” Westbrook said. “It’s going to take coordination of lawmakers, citizens, folks who work in social services.”
“There isn’t going to be one solution,” she added. “It’s going to be all of us coming together.”
The congregation will continue their tradition of reading the names of the individuals during its weekly online worship service at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1. The virtual service can be accessed online on the Asbury Memorial website.