7. Marching for Safer Streets

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There was a march through the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. The march was sponsored by a coalition of local organizations and agencies. The purpose of the march was to bring awareness to the violence in the community. Many people have been killed because of gun violence and other crimes.

The march began at 9 a.m. on a busy corner. Many parents brought their children to the march. The crowd began to walk down the neighborhood sidewalks. Occasionally the crowd would stop, and an organizer using a bullhorn would tell the story of a person who was killed. After the organizer told the story, there would be a prayer followed by a moment of silence. There were relatives of people who had been killed participating in the march. Some of these relatives would leave lit candles, balloons, or flowers in remembrance of the persons who died. One woman who died was found in the lake of Hollenbeck Park. Police suspect that her boyfriend killed her. She had a baby daughter. Her ex-husband participated in the march and asked that organizers include her in their prayers.

The march continued for 20 blocks, and ended at Wabash Park. While the march was somber, the mood inside the park was more celebratory. Different organizations had booths with information about local programs. There was a craft table for kids to draw picture about the kind of neighborhood they wanted to live in. Different bands played between speakers offering solutions to the neighborhood's problems.

On the same day there was another march at a nearby housing project. In the spring, four houses were firebombed. Police suspect the attacks were racially motivated. Organizers planned to hold the march again next year. They really hoped though that conditions in the neighborhood would improve so they wouldn't have to march.

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