Peace Walk honors local children slain by gunfire

admin | 4/12/2012, 5 a.m.

For the last several weeks, rallies and marches have been held across the country to remember and demand justice for Trayvon Martin. Students, adults, neighbors and colleagues have all come together to show their support for the teen killed in Sanford, Fla. Although Trayvon was still in everyones thoughts, the Peace Walk in Liberty City on Wednesday, April 4th was coordinated to remember other local youth who have been victims of gun violence. Mothers whose children were murdered wore white and joined hands with community leaders and local youth. [Violence] is starting to become a black plague because we are losing too many of our children and something needs to be done quickly, explained Wanda McMillan, a Liberty City resident whose 16-year-old son, Marquez James, was shot and killed in 2008. The final destination for the walk was held at the Sherdavia Jenkins Peace Park at 62nd and 12th Avenue where the walks adult participants led by Sherdavias father, David Jenkins released 15 white balloons to commemorate how old Sherdavia would have been this year if she had not been killed by gunfire. The Sherdavia Jenkins issue has impacted many people in Liberty City and we wanted to acknowledge the individuals we have lost here in this particular community to violence, said City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones one of the organizers of the event. Violence not limited to Black community The idea for the event was inspired by the Ladies in White protests in Cuba, where mothers, daughters and other female relatives of jailed dissidents wear white to symbolize peace and quietly march through the streets.It is not unusual for mothers to turn the pain of their loss, in whatever form, into a quiet call for action. Queen Brown became an anti-violence community activist after her son was shot and killed in 2006. You can use your pain of pain and grief and teach others, said Brown who frequently speaks at venues throughout Miami-Dade County. No matter how traumatic it was, there is always someone out there who needs to hear your story and to understand how difficult it is to lose a child. VonCarol Kinchens, a mother who lost her son to gun violence 14 years ago, also believes that there are lessons everyone can learn from hearing from victims mothers, fathers and other loved ones because when something like this kind of violence happens in our community, it not only affects the victim but if affects other families as well. Kinchens, a volunteer for a local tutoring and mentoring group, Mega Girls, helped to make sure that youth participated in the march and subsequent rally. Some of these kids older sisters and brothers played with [Sherdavia] so its important to teach them now in order to guide them in the right direction, she said. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com