AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- A local community is helping bring awareness to the recent gun violence in the area with a stop the violence rally.

Family members who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence in Augusta say it’s a cycle that’s got to stop. 

“I lost my son Kevin Coatney on January 30, 2022 at the Club 706 he was leaving to come home and he was fatally shot and lost his life to gun violence,” said Artia Jones.

Many people who came together at Bethel Community Church spoke about ways to keep youth away from gun violence.

Rynell Williamson went to prison when he was 16 and was released at age 45. It’s something he knows all too well.

“I went in at a young age and just thinking over the years and getting older within the system and seeing the system recruiting more younger like it’s so many people coming in 17, 18 years of age with no guidance and no sense of direction,” said Rynell Williamson.

Jones says she grateful to be surrounded by other mothers, in a community that hopes to one day make a difference.

“It brings a little comfort for me because I’m able to open up and be around people that feel the same thing or have experienced the tragedies I have experienced and my family,” said Jones.

Jones says in remembrance of her son Kevin Coatney, a stop the gun violence basketball tournament will take place on Sunday at the Robert Howard Community center.

Information is below: