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Demonstrators stomp Kalamazoo streets to protest against gun violence

WWMT Grand Rapids/Lansing logo WWMT Grand Rapids/Lansing 7/27/2021 Maria Serrano | News Channel 3

A unity march took place on Saturday, July 24, 2021, in the Northside neighborhood in Kalamazoo where nearly 50 demonstrators stomped the pavement to fight gun violence.

Demonstrators started the 1.6-mile march on Woodbury Avenue.

“I need my grandchildren to grow up, I don’t need to worry about a bullet just hitting one of them,” said a woman in the crowd.

The community is concerned about street violence and taking steps to end it.

“I think this is one little way, in which I can do my part,” Richard Phillips, a Kalamazoo resident, said.

“We’re here to bring the community together, let them know that there is love and there is compassion for all demographics,” Michael Willis, a Kalamazoo resident, said.

Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson also said the community needs to support each other. Assistant Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety chief Dave Boysen voiced the same message.

“We should all work together to put our differences aside and rally around a common cause for the peace in our neighborhood we need desperately,” said Boysen.

Many Kalamazoo and state officials representing the city also showed up.

“I’m here in solidarity with everyone in our community who wants to see gun violence reduced, who wants to see safety on our streets,” said Kalamazoo City Commissioner Jeanne Hess.

“It’s important for all of us to show up both the community and elected official to show support for any kind of measures that are anti-gun violence,” state Rep. Julie Rogers, D-Kalamazoo, said.

They all denounced the violence at strategic locations on the Northside.

“We try to target areas that have been heavily hit with a lot of gun violence,” Rev. Gregory Jennings, coordinator of Pastors on Patrol, said. “Those who are in gangs or whatever your position is that you’re doing, come together with us, let us find something for you to do.”

This is the second of three marches. The first was on Kalamazoo's Eastside, this one was on the Northside, and the last one will be in August on the Southside.

After the 1.6-mile walk that started on Woodbury Avenue, dozens gathered for a barbecue they called a “peace smoke" on Woodbury Avenue where pastors said people had been shot before.

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WWMT Grand Rapids/Lansing

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