GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Community groups and residents gathered in Grand Rapids Saturday morning to hold the first Stop the Violence Walk.
The walk is an effort to promote unity in the community. During the walk, they chanted, "Stop the violence, keep the peace."
Samika Douglas, one of the coordinators of the event and the community liaison for LINC Up, said one of the kids participating in the walk came up with the idea for the chant.
There were also people holding signs in support, passing out water and cheering on walkers along the route.
The group walked a route on the southeast side of the city.
"The goal of today's walk is to let the community know that we are here and we are trying to walk out the violence," said Douglas. "We are tired of the violence in our community, and we all need to come together to take a stand."
Douglas said they are taking a stand against all violence that brings down the community. "We want to build up our community," she emphasized.
There were a couple dozen people who participated in the walk, including Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne, Tabitha Williams from LETS—learning, educating, teaching and success—and area residents.
Douglas said this is the first walk of what she hopes will be many.
"We are losing too many people because of violence. In the last two months, it's just been a string of violence. In one week, we had 10 shootings. So it's getting concerning when the kids can't go out and play."
The event was hosted by LINC UP, a community development organization that provides services to Kent County. They partnered with local resident group LETS.
"We are here. We're not going anywhere. And we're going to get this violence out of our community one step at a time," said Douglas.
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