North Minneapolis group promotes "Guns Down, Love Up" amid increase in violence

Updated: September 22, 2019 04:15 PM

After Rosemary Nevils Williams' son was shot and killed, her journey through heartbreak and to healing is one she is now sharing with the North Minneapolis community.

Tyrone Williams was shot and killed in April of 2018 outside of his mother's home. The well-known community activist left four children of his own behind.


"People have always said you'll never know what it's like until you bury a child," Williams said.

Williams, along with her daughters, founded "Guns Down, Love Up," an organization that celebrates the lives of those lost to gun violence while also advocating for peace.

Saturday, the group held a unity festival in Bethune Park. The focus was on healing old wounds while educating young children, Williams said.

"Our goal is to bring people together with like minds, that want to make a change, want to change surroundings," she said.

The festival boasted live music, food and activities for children. Artist Flahn Manly grew up in Minneapolis. He spent the afternoon painting a mural of two boys, surrounded by roses.

"I've seen the majority of the kids I've grown up with, end up dead or in jail," Manly said. "Rather than being in the streets, they can pick up a paint brush and paint."

Yard signs were also distributed to attendees. Williams's goal is to make sure their message is spread beyond one single event.

"It will go into their psyche and people will believe that and work toward that," she said.

The group is planning other upcoming community events, including a gun buy back.

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Kirsten Swanson

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