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Marchers take to Gary streets to take issue with violence

Supporters trekked down Broadway from Roosevelt High School Gary City Hall Saturday morning during second annual Youth March for Change.

Supporters trekked down Broadway from Roosevelt High School to the Gary City Hall Saturday morning during the second annual Youth March for Change. | Carrie Napoleon~for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 24, 2014 10:08AM



GARY — Marchers wearing Stop the Violence hoodies braved the biting cold wind Saturday for the 2.5-mile trek down Broadway for the second annual Youth March for Change.

David King, the 25-year-old event organizer, said participants walked from Roosevelt High School to City Hall to issue a call to stop the violence in the city and improve educational opportunities.

“It’s a way to kind of gather the youth together and get them involved in the city,” King said.

The Rev. Carlton Lynch from New Beginnings Church in Fort Wayne called for participants to spread the message of the event outside of the rally.

“The people who need to hear this message the most are not at this rally,” said Lynch, the event’s special guest.

Norman and Latrice Richmond huddled together against the cold to hear the message.

“As a whole we need to come together. We need to get back to the basics and go old school when the whole community used to watch out for one another,” Norman Richmond said.

There were 55 murders in Gary in 2013, more than the number of people who came out Saturday to march.

Angie Bonilla of Gary knows the pain of losing a loved one to a violent end first hand.

Bonilla’s fiancé, Tyron Hopkins, 43, was shot and killed Sept. 13, 2012, on the Grant Street ramp to the Borman Expressway following an altercation between his brother and another man, Rickey Smith, who was charged with the crime.

“I’m tired of the senseless violence,” Bonilla said. As a mother of a 16-year-old old son, she said she worries every day about the safety of her child when he walks to school and is out in the community. She said the rally means a lot to her because it shows someone does care about stopping the violence.

“We must start in our community,” she said.

As a pastor, Lynch said he has buried 17 members of his own community last year who died violent deaths.

“The church cannot just be the venue for funerals. The church has to be proactive. We have got to get out there in the streets,” he said, decrying the lack of participation of the city’s religious community.

Organizers plan to continue the effort March 30 when Lynch will return at 11 a.m. to Pilgrim Baptist Church, 1301 W. 21st Ave., to lead a Stop the Violence worship service.



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