AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The first week of February is National Gun Violence Survivor week. 

The CDC says 79% of murders in 2020 involved a gun, and more than half of overall gun deaths that year were suicides. Local advocates say there are ways to solve problems without guns.

“I was in a grocery store when they were outside shooting. So, to actually be in the middle of something, it made me more aware that I need to step it up more than what I’m doing,” organizer of stop the violence Garian Henry said.

Oftentimes people think of survivors as the victim of the incident itself, but sometimes those attached to that person are also victims.

“They think gun is the answer, it’s not the answer– it’s never been the answer. And then not only is it that the family members are impacted, it is the family members of the ones that have committed the crime, they’re impacted as well because not only are you in jail, but your family is left to grieve what you did, to try and clean it up,” Henry said.

The first week in February gives this issue even more chance in the spotlight to gain more awareness. 

“I need to be just, not an advocate just talking on Facebook and talking on the news, I need to start getting action done. I was getting ready to take a trip to Atlanta to go to the governor’s office and stand outside with a sign letting people know that we need to stop this, this violence,” Henry said.

Henry’s aim is to get to the people and work proactively against gun violence. 

“My first rally was a success because family members talked– family members that lost their loved ones, and a lot of people don’t understand that is a hurt that never goes away,” Henry said.

Henry tells us she has lost two loved ones to violence, so her drive for change is even more.

“My violence rally– I did that, not only for the victims, but for the families so they can come, they can mourn and they can express themselves,” Henry said.

Advocates are just tired of another life being taken over something that could be handled differently.

“Enough has been past enough– it’s beyond that now. It’s not even ‘enough is enough is enough,’ it’s beyond that now,” Henry said. 

Advocates are working towards seeing a day where people choose peace over violence and life over death.