‘This is the worst it’s been’: March on North Clinton showcases need to stop violence

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — They were marching to stop the violence, one step at a time.

“I’ve been out here fighting this fight, but this is the worse it’s been,” Angela Wallace said.

Wallace lives in the North Clinton Avenue neighborhood that has seen not one, not two but 12 shootings so far this year. The latest shootings on the street happened on Aug. 5, when five people were shot and two died.

That’s why Uniting Hope with Healing of Monroe County, police, local government leaders and the community all came out, taking action to end gun violence.

It was a march to save lives.

“A lot of people are talking about it, and I’m trying to actually do something about it and get involved,” Wallace said. She says the uptick in violence in the neighborhood is a health crisis, so she and dozens of other took to the streets to push for change.

“How many more children must lose their lives? It’s like people becoming numb to it all. Like it doesn’t even matter — okay, another one killed; okay, three more dead. But we have to do something about this,” Wallace said.

North Clinton Avenue is one of the areas in Rochester that are epicenters of gun violence. Many people marching this evening say every step is a step forward to make a difference.

“More of a commitment of trying to get to the root of the gun violence problem. Trying to get closer to a solution,” Cheryl Robinson said.

Robinson walked with the crowd through every street corner along North Clinton, chanting, “Down with the guns and up with love!” They stopped to pray at the sites where a dozen people were shot, to honor lives taken by and harmed by gun violence.

“It shows, particularly to families of the victims, that there are people that do care,” Robinson said.

Joining in on the fight to stop the violence was Leonard Johnson. He lives in the neighborhood and knows what it’s like being on the other slide of the law. He explained faith and hope have helped him turn his life around.

Being a part of Wednesday’s rally represented a way to turn pain into purpose, Johnson believes.

“I am conscious that what I was doing yesterday is offending my community and it’s offending God,” he said.

According to the Rochester Police Department, the number of people shot is down 28% from this time last year. People killed by a gun are down 45%. However, this year so far, the city already has exceeded the number of shootings and homicides that occurred six years ago.

RPD also says they have removed more than 500 illegal guns off the street.