DURHAM, N.C. — A community group known as One Thousand Black Men, or OneKBM, gathered outside the Hayti Heritage Center Friday to take a stand against gun violence. This comes as the city has seen a spike in crime.


What You Need To Know

  • The city of Durham has seen a recent spike in gun violence
  • The group known as One Thousand Black Men (OneKBM) is demanding officials address the problem
  • OneKBM is also working to organize mentorship efforts and resources for the community


Leonardo Williams, one of the group’s co-founders, says their goal is to curb gun violence and change the trajectory of young Black men. Their efforts include advocacy, support, economic development and intervention.

“Imagine if we had a thousand Black men on the ground,” Williams said. “Imagine if every young man of color had someone to hold their hand and say, ‘I got you. I have your back. You don’t have to resort to the streets. I can help you get into college. I can help you find a job.’”

During Friday’s event, they called on elected officials to create an immediate plan of action in order to end gun violence in the city. They also asked leaders to help fund community resources that are already established in the city.

“We’re asking the city and the county to provide an immediate plan of action. Stop business per usual. What is the immediate plan of action for addressing the uptick in gun violence in this city? We’re also being self accountable. That’s why we’re here,” Williams said.

“I’ve lost so many students. Whether they’ve been a victim of the system, whether they’ve been a victim of the streets, a victim of each other. I’ve lost count. I’m frustrated. I can’t take that anymore, and that’s why I had to step up with the rest of my brothers and do something. That’s what this is all about,” Williams said.

Members of OneKBM include students from N.C. Central, working professionals from all sectors as well as religious leaders. The organization is actively recruiting more people who want to join their efforts. Their first meeting is happening next month.

You can learn more about OneKBM by visiting its website.