Community leaders walk for peace

caines | 11/15/2012, 5 a.m.

Marchers walked and prayed around Liberty City to stop violence On the front line stood Rev. Carl Johnson; Commissioner Audrey Edmonson; Rev. Gaston Smith; Torian Cox and Attorney Larry Handfield. Behind them were church members, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and numerous Omegas who stood in unison. Regardless of their title and their age, they all stood as leaders, Nov. 8 as they walked through the darkness around the Liberty City community for peace. There were about 150 peace-walkers who marched from Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church to Miami Northwestern Sr. High School to bring awareness of the violence in the community. The event was hosted by the Sigma Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. The walkers stopped at other churches, like Jordan Grove Missionary Baptist Church and Mount Calvary Baptist Church and prayed before continuing on. Cars halted as they walked and other community members asked what they were walking for. Some from Liberty Square Housing Projects even joined in and started walking, too. It raised awareness that we are not for high crime, and when you march visibly in the community youre making a statement as Godly people and people who have integrity as this group does, Rev. Carl Johnson said. Among the group of marchers, was Miami Times columnist Queen Brown, a mother whos son was murdered in 2006 at the age of 24. I wasnt really aware of the problem until it happened to me, she said. I heard about other kids who had died in the community but I didnt really pay attention and now my cry to other parents is: Dont let it be your child. She said parents should teach child basic and old-fashioned values, such as love, tolerance and discipline. Brown also encouraged parents and the community to speak out against black-on-black crime. We cant just get alarmed when a police officer or a white man kills our child, she said. Its not OK for [any] man to kill our child. While walking by Holmes Elementary School, the marchers passed Ada Times, the mother of Howard Times, a 18-year-old who had been killed in a hit-in-run accident, only a few days prior. He was hit right in the area where she was standing. Ada and family were preparing to have a candlelight vigil in honor of her son that night and Ada herself spoke briefly at the ceremony held after the walk. Ernestine King, 31, a member of Mount Tabor Baptist Church, had walked for peace side-by-side with her 10-year-old son, Ashanti. She bought him along so that he could see how violence is impacting the community. We need our kids to see what we are saying about violence, she said. After the walk, there was a short service held by the stands near the Miami Northwestern track field. Rev. Carl Johnson, Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, Larry Handfield, Demond Meade and others all spoke at the event. If we can save one life and have a child choose an education instead of a gun and choose college instead of jail, Dr. Larry Handfield said. Then we have accomplished what we set out to accomplish. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com