Lowcountry nonprofit works to reduce gun violence with bus

The Racial Justice Network hopes to change kids’ future of not falling victim to gun violence all behind one wheel.
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 6:41 PM EDT|Updated: May. 20, 2023 at 1:48 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Racial Justice Network hopes to change kids’ future of not falling victim to gun violence all behind one wheel.

The nonprofit that focuses on human rights’ awareness is starting their Crime Reduction Community Bus that will travel around neighborhoods in North Charleston, focusing the most on high crime areas. North Charleston Police gave them a grant within the last year and a half to help bring this program to fruition.

“It’s our personal opinion that this bus is going to change lives and that this bus is going to save lives,” Dr. Candace Brewer, National President for Racial Justice Network, said.

The Racial Justice Network is planning to teach kids of North Charleston leadership principles, conflict resolution, gang awareness and more. Their officials say the majority of people committing crimes lack education and the new bus will help fix that.

“I’ve lost 13 family members to gun violence,” Brewer said. “So, we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

While kids are learning about black history leaders, how to engage with law enforcement, reentering society after prison and more, parents can learn too. The Racial Justice Network says they hope to teach parents about life skills like how to do checks and balances and cooking.

Rep. Wendell Gilliard of Charleston County says state lawmakers need to focus on what’s most important.

“Our position, and when I say ‘our’ I’m talking about ‘We the people,’ position has always been we should spend more time trying to do something about gun violence versus telling a woman what she should do with her body,” Gilliard said.

North Charleston Police provided a statement in response to this new program:

The North Charleston Police Department supports all community efforts to reduce violent crime. Reducing violent crime is about changing outcomes, and this bus being in the neighborhoods will certainly help with that piece.

The organization says the bus will start in June and will visit areas every week. They say they’re still in need of volunteers and extra funding to make this program more successful.

The bus will be at the Destiny Worship Center Saturday, May 20 during their food drive so organizers can answer questions. The group also plans to head to Columbia next Wednesday with the bus to share more of their mission to other state lawmakers.

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