Rock Island Community Promotes Peace For Summer - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island Community Promotes Peace For Summer

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With a number of shootings and stabbings in the Quad Cities Area this spring, many people are promoting peace for the summer. Dozens of young people showed up for YOUnity in the Community: Youth Safe Summer Campaign. Organizers say getting the anti-violence message out to them might mean fewer fatalities in the future.

"Every single one of us who is here at this park has lost somebody," one poet outside the Martin Luther King Jr. Center said.

Michael Collier, who helped organize the event, can relate. He has lost more than one person to violence, with a peak around seven years ago.

"My cousin, LaShaune Wright, she got murdered," he said. "And then, a lot of friends and family members that I know around here ended up getting killed, too, that year."

He decided to take action. He and several others organized a march for change.

"God put it up on my heart to do something about it," he said. "We had like over 1,000 people that day, marching in the rain around different sites where different individuals got killed at."

Their efforts continued Saturday with launching the summer campaign; the violence hasn't stopped. Rock Island police say they responded to 22 shots fired calls between January and May 19, 2014.

A 21-year-old Moline man was fatally shot in Rock Island on May 14, 2014.

"He was like a nephew to me," Collier said. "I went to his funeral. I spoke there. It was real sad."

One woman, Prince McGhee, said she heard about Saturday's event at the man's funeral.

"It is a problem," she said. "Every time you hear shot guns, somebody getting shot, it is a problem."

Organizers say they're hoping to address violence that not affects Rock Island, but also the entire Quad Cities.

"Let there be no more killing in the city of Rock Island," one speaker said. "Let there be no more killing in the city of Davenport, Moline, East Moline."

Area-wide violence often peaks in the summer. Collier says that as temperatures increase, so do tempers. That's why he, and various performers, are sharing a message of unity.

"We need to get unified you know because I believe with us being unified, we can truly make change," he said.

They are encouraging people of all ages to be proactive, not reactive, by solving problems as they arise. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center offers youth classes on anti-bullying and violence prevention throughout the year.

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