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Caminando por la Paz: People march against violence in a southwest Grand Rapids neighborhood

July 11, 2012

About 60 people showed up to participate in a march against violence in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood area, between US 131 and Grandville Avenue.

There has been some recent violence in that neighborhood, some involving guns and possibly related to gang violence.

People meet at the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association to hear a few words from a local minister, the community organizer with the neighborhood association and LINC.

The group then marched along Grandville Avenue with signs and talking with people along the way about what was going on and how people could get involved.

I spoke with Jerry Aguilar, from the Hispanic Center, who talked at length about the gang issues the neighborhood faces. He said that some families have been involved in gangs for at least two generations and that for many young people it gives them a sense of community.

The Grandville Avenue corridor is one of the poorest areas in the city and it is no surprising that poverty, unemployment and underemployment all contribute to decisions that people make about what to do in order to survive.

Along the march route some young people joined in, while others came outside to show their support. On the side streets the marches even took over the street and shouted for an end to violence. Most of the marchers were young people, along with some families and a few people from outside the neighborhood who came to show solidarity.

Before the march began I had a chance to talk with Hugo Claudin, one of the organizers of the action. There is footage of the march woven into the interview.

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