As violence stalks Richmond streets, so does Ceasefire
on November 17, 2014
Glitter covered posters and glow sticks in hand, Richmond families, teachers, and activists walked the streets of North Richmond Friday night for peace. As the marchers bellowed out the phrase “Alive and Free,” the sounds of their voices rang through the streets as cars passing by honked their horns in support and encouragement.
Richmond Ceasefire’s Friday night walks usually draw between 20-25 people, but nearly 60 people came out on this night after a week of violence rattled the city.
In the most recent incident, 16-year-old Rodney Allen Frazier was killed in a drive-by shooting.
Pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist church and Ceasefire partner Donnell Jones said: “Two months ago we were celebrating a low and all of a sudden” — he snapped his fingers for emphasis — “it just reoccurred. So now we are all just baffled at what’s going on.”
Friday’s walkers gathered at New Hope before heading into the streets of North Richmond, where Rodney Frazier lived. The group stopped in front of Frazier’s home and waited as Rodney’s grandfather came out to thank the marchers. The group huddled and stilled for a prayer.
As the walk wound down, the marchers returned to New Hope to plan the next walk and continue their prayers for change. Richmond High School senior and girls basketball player, Mí Jaé Wilson, said she hoped the walk was the beginning of stopping the violence that took away Rodney.
“Its very sad at school,” said Wilson. “I was telling my teachers before, ever since this incident occurred I feel like I am ready for whatever happens to me. Not saying I am going to stand here and watch myself die, but I am saying if I die I am ready for that, you know.” She said that it could have been her or any of her other friends who lost their life last week.
Operation Ceasefire launched its violence prevention program in Richmond in 2011. In a joint effort with the Richmond Police Department (RPD), community members and clergy hold call-ins with at risk youth and men and lead night walks through tough neighborhoods. With the recent spike in violence, Richmond High School teacher Lindsay Stone said she hopes these night walks will show that the community will not tolerate shootings.
Pastor Jones says that community members are working together on strategies to deal with the recent growth in gun violence, and says that Ceasefire’s work will continue.
The next walk is scheduled for Friday November 28th at the North Richmond Missionary Baptist church: 1427 Fred Jackson Way, Richmond. Check out https://www.facebook.com/richmond.ceasefire?fref=ts to confirm the time and location and find out more about Richmond Ceasefire.
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