People in Grand Rapids march to ‘stop the violence’

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Members of the Grand Rapids community took to the streets Saturday morning to march violence out of the city.

Community members say they’re getting tired of the recent spike in gun violence and want to do something about it.

“They say it takes a village to raise up the community, so that’s what I would like us to do,” said Samika Douglas, a community liaison with the group LINC Up. “All of the shootings that were occurring, it sparked an interest in us.”

In eight months, there have been 10 deadly shootings in Grand Rapids. 

The city is on pace for the highest number of fatal shootings in recent history.

“It destroys our community,” Douglas said. “It becomes a place where you don’t feel safe, and we shouldn’t live like that. We should be able to feel safe at home. And our community is our home.”

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne walked with his fellow community members. He says it shows the city that he and the department care.

“It’s not about me,” Payne said. “I’m just out here to show my support and show that the Grand Rapids Police Department supports any program or any event that is looking to stop the violence in the city.”

The group of marchers says through unity, peace and love that things will hopefully begin to change.

“I’m hoping with this walk people will build relationships,” said Community Advocate Tabitha Williams. “Trust is lost amongst the community. I feel like these people need to be familiar with who lives here.”

Williams says it’s important to remind families of the deceased and families of the criminals what’s at stake when a life is lost.

“They need to know the people that you are taking away are your neighbors,” Williams said. “The killers are related to someone. The victims are related to someone. We all are impacted — we are killing off our own future.”

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