With summer approaching and more people spending time outside, the local chapter of the NAACP is hoping it can help reduce the level of gun violence in the city, especially in light of last year’s record-breaking number of homicides.
On May 3, the Fort Wayne-Allen County NAACP will join a national initiative of the organization with the second annual march and rally to stop violence called Pick Up a Book, Not a Gun.
The march starts at 11 a.m. at Colerick Street and South Anthony Boulevard and ends at South Anthony and McKinnie Avenue, where speakers will talk about gun violence and pay tribute to those lost to it. There were 45 homicides in Allen County last year.
Aside from the rally, every Sunday in May, the group will host its Sundays in the Park program from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Memorial Park.
The group hopes that a place for residents to enjoy themselves as a group in a positive setting will help bring the surrounding neighborhoods together.
The age group out there doing the shootings now, their parents used to always be in the park, and we were family. We hope to trigger that memory back to them, said Victoria Washington, chair for the march and rally campaign.
The park events, under the theme Praise in the Park, will focus on embracing family and promoting health, education, civil rights, peace and unity.
We can go back to a more pleasant time, Washington said.
There will be a planning meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Pontiac Branch Library to discuss the rally.
Anyone interested in helping with the park programs can call Evangelist Dorothy Nichols at 459-2162 or John Ellis at 205-9319.