Faith leaders in Danville look to heal the community and help youth after deadly shooting

Ministers are working together in Danville to help create positive spaces and outlets for young people in the city, but need more help. (WSET)

DANVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- Faith leaders in Danville are searching for ways to heal the community after 16-year-old Nitaya Adams was shot and killed over the weekend.

The leaders explain young people are lost and losing hope, but they have a plan in action in the face of despair.

Several hours after a Save Our City event was held in Danville over the weekend Nitaya was killed.

Danville ministers Vastish Cooper and Erick Ferguson are working together with other ministers and church leaders to bring hope to the city's youth.

"It's just heartbreaking," Divine Purpose Ministries Vastish Cooper said. "As ministers we have to be strong for our communities."

Ferguson and Cooper are a part of the Ministerial Alliance of Danville.

"I've been where they are in the streets and I've dealt with a lot of the same issues that they've dealt with and I feel like that if they hear it from someone who has been there then maybe that can save a life," Water of Life Ministries Erick Ferguson said.

The two said the alliance is working on ways to help young people come together, but need more help.

"We're asking all ministers, pastors, evangelists to come out to the ministerial alliance on Monday's at noon at Mount Sinai Glorious Church of God," Ferguson said.

The group meets every Monday.

"We will be meeting to educate and find out exactly what it is we can do to come together to help our community," Ferguson explained.

The alliance is working on starting a year-round basketball league to keep kids busy, but it won't be all fun and games.

"They'll have to preform positively, academically and not [have] behavior problems," Ferguson said. "We're hoping that will bring them into the church as well."

He said hosting events in the city to bring the community together goes farther than just on that day.

"It's great to have these events for the community, but it's the commitment and the consistency and the follow-up," Ferguson said. "These children and their parents need to know that we're not just out here to have an event to save face, but they need to know that we're in their corner and we have their back."

"If there are young leaders out there that you know people listen to you and you have influence over them come on and join us," Cooper said. "If you're tired of these killings, if you're tired of the senseless acts of violence, come and join the ministers alliance. You don't have to be a minister, but come and join the movement."

If you're interested in joining the Ministerial Alliance of Danville again, they meet every Monday at noon at Mount Sinai Glorious Church of God. You can also send an email to Erick Ferguson at

The alliance will also be greeting kids at schools in the area on Wednesday morning to wish them a safe and successful school year.

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