WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Members of the Washington County community will come together again this weekend to encourage people to say “no” to violence. Leaders and activists hope to continue uniting their community through faith. 

“We’ll be praying for the city and community of love and peace between- during the event,” said Pastor Carl Williams of Middle Hill Baptist Church. “And what I’m hoping to get out of that – if we can turn some of these young people’s life around. That they’ll find God.”

Leaders and activists in Washington County will hold their third “Stop the Violence” rally.

These rallies began in response to the uptick in gun violence the county has seen, most notably the double homicide that occurred at the FreakNik event this summer.

“But if we open our hearts and open our arms to one another, and show each other grace,” said one previous rally speaker. “That we can begin the healing process.”

This weekend, local pastors will continue that work along with the Washington County Sheriff’s office. 

Sheriff Cochran says their goal is to help people overlook differences and find common ground.

“Once you can get past those things and realize we’re all humans, we all live here…in God’s eyes, we’re all brothers and sisters,” said Sheriff Cochran. “So, if you realize that, you work together and treat each other like that, you can’t help but to make things better. That’s kinda what we’re doing. That’s what…that’s what you’re seeing blossoming here in Washington County.”

“A great man said that it’s important for individuals who are not alike to come together and be able to have likeness,” said Pastor Scott Ferguson of Sandersville Community Church. “And I believe that that’s important… If we can get together and find a way to find common ground and not judgment based on the color of his skin or where he lives, but the content of his character.”

Leaders say that, since their first rally, they have seen more community involvement and, even, less crime. 

“My whole goal is to show people if we can do this in Washington County, then they can  do it in Baldwin County, they can do it in Richmond County, they can do it in Fulton County,” said Pastor Williams. “I want Washington County to be a beacon for everyone else, every other county and city.” 

Washington County’s Stop the Violence rally will be held Saturday, December 3rd at 3pm at the courthouse gazebo.