Peorians march to Stop the Violence

By WEEK Producer

August 18, 2012 Updated Aug 20, 2012 at 9:24 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Two weeks ago, Lisa Nimmers lost her son. Dwight McCall, Jr., was shot in the chest and killed.

While preparing for his funeral, Lisa vowed to do something to prevent more violence from taking the lives of others.

"At the funeral home, I made him a promise that I was going to make a change in his name," Lisa said. "I promised him that he would not be forgotten."

And so, on Saturday, Lisa began to fulfill that promise. Joined by Dwight's brothers and sisters, she participated in the 8th annual Stop the Violence March and Outreach Rally.

The event was the creation of Reverend McKinley Hightower, a reformed drug addict whose brother was killed by gun violence.

"I was in Teen Challenge getting help for my addiction and I was dreaming about this event," recalled Hightower. "That was back in 2003."

Two years later, the first march and rally was organized drawing about 50 people. On Saturday, Hightower anticipated more than 700.

Micah Allen was one of them. She first attended this event three years ago and says it changed her life.

"I have an addiction to street life," said Allen. "That includes addictions ranging from drugs, it could be rap music, it could go from rap music to the way I dress."

Peoria County State's Attorney Jerry Brady attended the event and praised those who turned out.

"The ever-present question is what can we do if we're not directly involved to help reduce this violence? And this is a great example and I applaud them for their effort," Brady said. "This is an example of how the community can come together, organize and address the message of reducing violence."

And they're all onboard for that.