Peace Walk: Local kids march for peace and the right to play in a safe neighborhood

May 30, 2019 08:21 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — After violence forced kids to stay inside and off the playground, the children decided to fight back with messages of peace.

Snuggled between the homes on Cameron Street, sits a brick building transformed inside to serve as the Cameron Community Ministries. The downstairs room is alive with sounds and movement of kids in the after-school program putting their finishing touches on their poster board signs. 

“We’ll be walking, holding signs up we’re making now, saying we want peace,” explained 8-year-old De’Shawn Isidore.

It’s a simple message: keep kids safe, let them play. 

After a string of shootings in 2013 kept the kids indoors and unable to play safely in their own neighborhood, the Peace Walk was formed. 

The walk will take place Thursday, May 30 at 4:30 p.m. along Lyell Avenue, a neighborhood that has one of the highest rates of crime in the City of Rochester. 

“Our students play a critical role in this movement because it’s their voices that get the attention of government officials in a way that adults can’t," said Damon Butler, a youth assistant with Cameron Community Ministries. "They know that standing up for what they believe in and advocating for themselves and their needs is the best way to see change in their community."

Addison Washington, 10, hopes everyone in the city pays attention.

“You should start spreading peace around the neighborhood,” she encouraged.

Kaylee Vo, 11, agreed, saying, “no more violence, no more kids getting hurt, no more kids dying.”

Their little voices want to make a big difference. Helping them along is the Healthi Kids Coalition. The initiative of Common Ground Health advocates for safer, more accessible places for kids to play in Rochester.

Click here to learn more about Cameron Community Ministries and the Peace Walk.


Stephanie Robusto

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