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Arkansas faith based organization launches initiative to curb crime

Rev. Arthur L. Hunt Jr. who started 'Faith First Responders United' to help teens, said that he got a wake up call to expand the organization.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — A mass shooting at a Hood-Nic event that happened in March, left one person dead and various others wounded. After that happened, Rev. Arthur L. Hunt Jr. who started 'Faith First Responders United' in Dumas said that he got a wake up call to expand the organization to the rest of the state. 

"We're just a small, but not insignificant group. Faith First Responders are at the hospital at the bedside. When the EMT's leave, when the firemen leave. When the law enforcement leave," said Hunt. 

Members of the organization are typically at the side of the individuals and families that have been affected by a crisis. On Father's Day at the Arkansas State Capitol, Hunt along with other like minded men, launched a larger initiative where they are now committed to change and to curbing violent crimes.

RELATED: 'Impacted all of us:' Arkansas community gathers following mass shooting

Former Dallas Cowboys football player and Little Rock native, Reggie Swinton, joined the group for the Father's Day event. 

Swinton has been very passionate about helping the cause. Just a few months back, he held a meeting at the state capitol in hopes of being able to hold the community accountable in addressing the violent crime. 

"When will we as Black men step in and bridge that gap?" Swinton asked.

He encouraged Black men to come together. He said they need to do it, so that they are able to lead both young Black teenagers and boys who do not have a father figure in their lives. He also said that with coming together, that could help reach mothers who have let their children do whatever they want to do.

Swinton also commented that coming together would allow them to reach the dead beat fathers who believe that it's not important to be involved in their children's lives. 

"A fist open can do nothing by itself. It's individuals, but when you bring that fist together it's a tight knit group and it can not be broken," said Swinton.

RELATED: 'Us vs. Us:' Little Rock city leaders hold rally to address violent crime

Earl Williams Sr., who lost three of his sons to gun violence, said that he has been sharing his story and protesting for justice for the last 17 years.

 Although he has three other daughters and another son, Father's Day just doesn't feel the same for him anymore.

"We celebrated Father's Day just like the 4th of July except it was more with the boys, but then too you know, it's been hard," said Williams. 

All three of his sons died at a young age. Two of them at the age of 30, and the other at just 28-years-old.

"It's just another day. I'm sad most of the time, but I know I have to keep going because I know there's other people out here that's going through a lot. I've been trying to make it by helping other people," said Williams.

Rev. Hunt mentioned that his small organization has been committed, but they have not yet been compensated for their efforts. The group met with Governor Asa Hutchinson back in May where they talked about the potential of getting funding to help with their cause. 

Hunt said their goal would be to receive the same type of compensation as firefighters, EMTs and other first responders. 

They have also met with Little Rock mayor, Frank Scott Jr. to motion for a contract in order to receive compensation, and they'll be meeting with him again this week  He said that even without backing from city and state officials, they still feel the need to continue moving forward with their mission. 

They will soon launch their certification program,  which will be a collaborative effort with groups like the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. The six-month training program will be available to anyone interested in becoming a part of it. 

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