May 22, 2014
There have been two homicides in the past few weeks in Charlottesville and now leaders in the community are speaking out with hopes to end violence.
Antonio Washington and Oscar Brown Jr. were both killed in Charlottesville a week apart.
Washington was stabbed while at a party on May 10th and Brown died of a gunshot wound outside of an apartment in the Westhaven neighborhood on May 17th. Police are still trying to find both suspects in these cases.
As for the community, family and friends of the victims, they are tired of the senseless violence in their neighborhoods.
“We've had too much violence here in the last couple of weeks and it needs to stop,” says Dr. Alvin Edwards, pastor of Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church. “I think the only way that you can help it to stop is that people gather as a community and as a unit and let their voices be heard and stop the violence, but more importantly we need to bring attention to the issue at hand.”
They plan to hold a peace walk, with the help of pastors and community leaders around Charlottesville, including the Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR).
“We feel we have a responsibility to make sure that we can alleviate some suffering, try to bring peace and work for change that's going to make a difference,” Brandon Collins, organizer for PHAR .
The march will begin at the Legal Aid Justice Center, and then they will make their way through the 10th and Page neighborhood and end at Run Street, where only a few days ago, Charlottesville saw its second homicide of the year.
“We need to look at some of the systemic reasons why some of these things happen,” says Edwards. “This is the second murder on Run Street and it needs to be addressed in a better way.”
“Apparently what we are doing is not working and so we need to find some solutions.”
They hope that the peace walk will be a starting point to putting an end to violence in the community and raise questions on how to handle the other issues that residents face in Charlottesville.
The peace walk begins at 8 PM on Friday May 23. People are asked to meet at the Legal Aid Justice Center.