Community marches to reclaim Clarke Street School playground

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by Lane Kimble

MILWAUKEE -- On the very playground where his 10-year-old daughter, Sierra Guyton, was gunned down nearly three months earlier, Onjuan Guyton had to smile.

"The sun is out, the sky is blue and that lets me know my baby is in a better place," Guyton said.

Most families kept their children away from the Clarke Street School playground after Guyton was shot in the head May 21st.  But Sunday, community members returned in force.

A march to the playground started three blocks away, outside the Tabernacle Community Baptist Church.  Pastor Don Darius Butler helped lead the rally.

"We will not be gripped by fear," Butler said.

He says people in this neighborhood are tired of hiding in their  homes when their children should be out enjoying life.

"We want to reclaim this space," Butler said.  "We want to reconstitute these zones for the purpose for which they have been created."

Church leaders and public officials asked the crowd to loudly declare their presence at the school.  Most parents said they've been waiting a long time for this day to come.

"These kids, they didn't ask to be born, they didn't ask to come here and they need to be protected, even if their  own families don't protect them, we need to do something," Mother Sandy Moore said.

Milwaukee Police officers showed their support too, promising to do all they can to protect the neighborhood.  But the crowd at the school knows fighting crime will take unity.

"We're in this together," Pastor Butler said.  "[The police] are charged with the responsibility to sustain civic life.  We're charged with the responsibility to be the moral voice and conscience of the community."

"We can't sleep on this situation," Guyton said.  "If we want something to get done we need to keep on at it."

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