‘Stop the Violence’ march Saturday in Hamilton

A “Men: Stop the Violence March” will be held at 9 a.m. Aug. 20 starting at the Booker T. Washington Center, 1140 S. Front St., and will wind its way through the city.

The march was organized after recent shootings in Hamilton that left three people dead and eight people facing serious charges, with four of them possibly looking at the death penalty.

Former Hamilton resident Perry Shazier II, who now resides in Arizona, learned of the violence and wanted to find a way to help ease the tension in Hamilton.

BTW Director Tonya Lowry said he organized the march and is hoping it will bring peace to the city.

“Everybody will assemble here at 9 a.m. and the march will start at 10 a.m.,” Lowry said. “Perry has initiated the event and is hoping for a peaceful march to bring attention to stopping the violence in the city.”

Kalif Goens, 21, was buried Aug. 3, after being killed in a shooting last month at Doubles Bar. Orlando Gilbert and Todd Berus, 25, were both killed in a drive-by shooting the day of Goens’ funeral. They were buried Friday afternoon — the same day, police announced the arrest of eight people in connection with the two incidents.

Shazier said he is encouraging, “all men to bring your sons to the march.”

Former city councilman and local pastor Archie Johnson said he is encouraged to see that people are stepping up to speak out against violence

“I hope the march gets enough support and that all involved are successful in getting the message out that the violence has to stop,” Johnson said.

Pastors Shaquila Mathews and Mike Pearl have both been taking the stop the violence message from the pulpit to the streets. And they also would like to see as many people as possible show up Saturday.

“It’s a great move in the right direction,” Mathews said. “Especially with the recent events that have happened in our community.”

Pearl added, “I think it’s a great cause for many in the community to come together for unity promoting what the majority of all citizens of Hamilton desire — peace.”

Residents Alfred Barron and Rachel McCoy both feel that continuing to speak out against violence is the right thing to do.

“We have to keep speaking up and communicating,” Barron said.

McCoy, who has been vocal in the past year advocating for dialogue between the community and police, said, “I have been speaking with some of the mothers who have lost their sons to violence. I plan on keeping active to make sure their stories get told.”