SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Improving the Queen City is the focus of a group of concerned citizens, who have created a new movement that is gaining momentum in Selma.
One of their top priorities of Saving Selma Lives centers around coming up with possible solutions to better equip law enforcement to fight violent crimes in the area. Tuesday night, before the Selma city council meeting, dozens of residents gathered outside city hall for a special time of prayer. Among them was one of the Saving Selma Lives organizers, Ashley Sparks Colburn.
"Selma has always been home. We have some of the best citizens in the state in my opinion," said Colburn.
Last Thursday, the wife and mother lost a sense of safety when she witnessed the aftermath of a shooting, at the intersection of W. Dallas Avenue and Chisholm Drive, that left one man injured.
"He was on the ground and I was one of the people there trying to offer assistance until the first responders came. That was the first time I had seen gun violence in this town myself," said Colburn.
Feeling outraged by what happened and ashamed she had not done anything to help prevent this sort of thing from happening, Colburn and other residents banded together. Saving Selma Lives was created with the goal of encouraging community members to come together to find solutions for the problems the city and county are facing.
"It was either lead or leave. For our first meeting we had roughly 100 people so we thought that was great," said Mary Carter Simmons.
As the result of the initial meeting and an open letter Colburn sent to the city council, there was standing room only at Tuesday night's city council meeting.
"We can't sit by the wayside. Something needs to happen. We are asking the council to find a way to provide more funds for the Selma Police Department," said Colburn.
"I love our police department. I support them. They are working hard and they care for us. They want us to be safe," said Simmons.
The group wasn't able to get on Tuesday's agenda, but there were several council members that acknowledged their presence and even addressed some of their concerns.
Organizers say they do plan to attend the next council meeting in August.
In just five days, the group picked up 1,200 members on Facebook.