DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At Glendale Park​ in South Dallas Monday evening, families gathered alongside local faith leaders to pray.

“I challenge the city to enter into seven days of peace and no violence,” Pastor James Armstrong III said.

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“As a pastor, as a leader and as a preacher, I want to use my platform to see that these things don’t keep happening,” Pastor Earl D. Thomas said.

Thomas was 9-year-old Brandoniya Bennett’s pastor. Last Wednesday, she became an innocent victim of gang-related violence in east Dallas.

Then, not even a day later, 21-year-old Christopher Whitfield was killed in south Oak Cliff. He is another victim of gun violence. Whitfield is the son of DISD Trustee Maxie Johnson.

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Prayer event in South Dallas (CBS 11)

“The pain that I feel losing a son, the pain that his mom feels, having to see her son go out of the world in that fashion, it’s hard on her,” Johnson said. “I’m going to ask everyone to not just pray for me but once again pray for his mom.”

Johnson, and others in attendance, are now calling on the community to do better.

“To those who choose to take someone’s life in their hands, it is our prayer, because we’re crying out tonight, that those who choose to make that type of choice that they would think twice,” No More Violence’s Patricia Allen said.

“We’re going to stand with the community and we’re gonna run this violence out of our community,” Johnson said.

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There are more prayer gatherings scheduled for this week. The next one takes place Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at White Rock Lake Park.

Erin Jones