WASHINGTON, DC -- A few dozen people took part in a Ward 5 community walk and sleep out on Friday in response to the recent murders of several teens.
"We’ve come together this evening in unity and solidarity to say enough is enough," said Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie. "I think there’s a culture of violence that exists in urban communities across the country and DC is no different, but I also understand that our communities need to be empowered to understand that solutions are going to come from within the community."
"I’ve seen a couple of young people that have been taken way too early and we work extremely hard to develop the city in a effort to leave it to them and for them to lose their lives and to be totally innocent, it’s just unfair," said community activist Silas Grant.
The march started at a park near the home of Jamahri Sydnor, a 17-year-old who was shot and killed by a stray bullet while driving in August.
They marched to the spot where Robert Lee Arthur Jr., 18, was shot and killed on Monday.
The march finished at a park near the spot where Zaire Kelly, 16, was shot and killed by a would-be robber (Kelly fatally stabbed the robber, Sequan Gillis, 19).
"This has certainly changed and recommitted the College Bound program to what we're calling the 'Year of Zaire'. We're dedicating our efforts to making sure no young person that we can come across will get lost in this crazy system," said Kenneth Ward, executive director of College Bound, the college prep program that Kelly attended.
At the park, marchers planned to spend the night discussing ways they can "reclaim the community". People with ideas on how to help are encouraged to go to McDuffie's website and submit them.