About 50 people set off from 23rd Avenue and Union Street for a march for nonviolence in response to recent Central District shootings.
The group, calling the march “Heal the Hood,” wants to end the recent spate of violence that has seen three people killed in Seattle shootings since April 19.
Marchers chanted “Save our youth” and “We love our youth” as they walked from 23rd and East Union Street to 28th Avenue and South Jackson Street.
The march was organized through a text message and Facebook page, said Jewel D. Howard, who lives in West Seattle but grew up in the Central District/Madrona area. Before the march started, Howard said she wasn’t sure about attendance because of May Day events also taking place.
“But they showed up,” Howard said.
She said the neighborhood is important to those who grew up there, even if they have moved. The march was held to raise awareness that residents do care, she said.
“We need to ask, ‘What is the reason for all this violence?’ ” Howard said. “It’s not just the black people. It has to be all of us. All of our children, our elders, even the business owners.”
Marchers stopped at Flo Ware Park at 28th Avenue South and South Jackson Street, where speakers put out a call to action for community members to end the violence.
Marche Taylor said after the speeches that parents needed to better discipline their children.
“We want our children in college, not coffins,” said Taylor, who lives in Kent but grew up in the Central District.
There have been three fatal shootings in the Central District and Leschi neighborhoods since April 19; the victims have all been black. The city had 29 homicides in 2013. In addition, there have been several nonfatal shootings over the same period, most recently Tuesday when a man in his 20s was shot in the leg by a gunman who opened fire on a passing car near the Mount Baker neighborhood.
Police have said they don’t know if the shootings are related, but they are not ruling out gang activity.
Another march is scheduled for Saturday, organizers said. The “Prayer Walk for the Hood” starts at 8 a.m. at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street in the Central District.
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Richard Mitchell chose to attend Seattle’s May Day rally in support of black youth. “We’ve lost many black youth out there … and there is a place for them in our community,” he said. (Video by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)
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Richard Mitchell explans why demonstrators have gathered at Flo Ware Park on Jackson to condemn the recent shootings. (Video by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)