A Hopkinsville woman is hosting a community water fight Friday afternoon to join the nationwide anti-gun-violence initiative and to remember her late uncle who was shot and killed last year.

The hashtag, #GunsDownWaterGunsUp, gained traction on social media after several Georgia cities hosted the event. YouTube videos show crowds joining in the water war, and police officers also getting drenched by city kids. Miami communities hosted the event as well.

Denetria Leavell said she thought it would be a good idea to host a Guns Down, Water Guns Up event here to promote positivity in Hopkinsville this summer.

"I saw a lot of people were recently talking about stuff going on in the community and wanting the community to come together, so I thought it would be a good idea," she said.

Hopkinsville's community water fight will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Boys and Girls Club basketball courts. Locals of all ages are invited to bring their water guns and water balloons to the green space for a few hours of wet fun.

"Everybody just come together and have a good time," she said.

The event is happening near the one-year anniversary of the death of her uncle, Desmond Leavell. The 29-year-old died as the result of a homicide June 17.

"If he was alive, for the Fourth of July, he always did fireworks for the community," she said, noting that she and her family kept that tradition going last year for the Fourth. "And then, we did the Easter egg hunt for Easter, so we're just trying to give back.

"The time is coming around for when the situation happened, and I feel the need to keep his name alive and do stuff where people come together," she continued. "It makes me feel better to see that togetherness and just to see people come out for something with his name on it. The more people we see, I feel like the better we'll feel. Everybody just come out and love on each other."

Reach Zirconia Alleyne at 270-887-3243 or zalleyne@kentuckynewera.com.

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