Howard Nathan unites Peorians to march against violence

By Chad Weber

July 14, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 1:14 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Dozens of Peorians took the street Saturday night in an effort to curb violence in the city.

The "Stop the Violence March" took off on Adams Street and continued through the Taft Homes.

Organizer Howard Nathan said he knew he had to do something when his Mom called him, scared of the growing violence in her neighborhood.

"These kids are not out here just fighting anymore," said Nathan. "They are out here shooting. They are using guns, big guns, guns we don't even know, haven't even heard of"

Participants said it's not one area of Peoria that's the problem, but violence in the entire community has to stop.

Currently the city's homicide count for 2012 stands at seven.

Nathan plans to march in a different area of the city each week until the violence stops.

"Every week, every week, as long as we can just get more people listening and coming out joining us," said Howard. "Who knows how long it will go, until some of this stops."

"We just got to take it to every area that's experienced a homicide, you know what I mean," said march participant Kelvin Parker. "Not even necessarily gun violence but just a death is a death. Homicide or not, a death is a death. We just got to take it city wide and not just down here. We got to take it far and beyond."

Participants said an attitude change has to take place in the city, with an emphasis on family and self-respect.

"We just got to take more interest in our children cause sometimes the children can turn to the streets if they can't turn to their parents for guidance and love," said Parker. "If we as parents give our kids that time they need to listen and see what their life is like, then I think that might stop it."

Nathan hopes the message spreads across Peoria and beyond.

"If I can reach just one out of ten, that's cool," said Nathan. "But if I can get all these people to come out with me than I can reach a lot more than just one or two. We can reach a lot of them, almost all of them, if we're willing to just keep believing that we can."

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