Victory over violence: from weapons to garden tools

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – A coalition of faith-based organizations has found a creative way to get guns off the streets. They said it was a way to gain victory over violence.

More than 20 organizations in the Champaign area have partnered with Raw Tools, a company that turns old guns into gardening tools.

Together they will host three days of events with workshops on gun safety, trauma and resilience, and responses to violence.

“I want the community to be open,” said Reverend Terrence I. Thomas. “No, this is not a protest march. It’s not a bunch of preachers getting up there to rhyme and give soliloquies. It’s actually you doing the healing work, that’s what we’ll call it. Take the instruments of death and build life.

“I think it’s a good thing for community members to be active in the fight against gun violence and to be proactive,” added Outreach Minister Dawn Blackman. “We can’t just wait for there to be a tragedy.”

“There are people working to find a solution to the gun violence that we are experiencing and there is hope,” Pastor Tim Bossenbroek said. “There may be change.”

The first event is the Raw Tools Guns-to-Garden Tools Gathering. It will be at the Randolph Street Community Garden when it debuts at 5 p.m. Friday.

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