'Summer of Peace' march reaches out to Milwaukee youth

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by Lane Kimble

MILWAUKEE -- "Violence doesn't solve anything.  Let's have peace and make peace."  

Hundreds of people, many of them children, took to the Milwaukee streets Friday to deliver that message.

"The color of people's skin, or how they act, or what they look like.  Violence ain't never necessary," marcher Kevin Brown said.

The group started in Washington Park Friday morning for the 11th-annual Summer of Peace event.  Kids carried signs, waved flags and marched their way up Sherman Boulevard to Sherman Park.

Dozens of organizations came together, including the Boys and Girls Clubs, the ACLU and Milwaukee Public Theatre.  MPT organizer Barbara Leigh thinks the rally benefits adults as much as children.

"There's been a lot of violence and there's been a lot of fear about young people," Leigh said.  "We need to show the community that, no, no, there's all kinds of people out there doing wonderful things."

Rain showers forced things inside, but leaders think even the bad weather delivered a strong message.

"There's a saying about rain washing the sins away and so in some ways I think the rain had a way of washing some of the sins away in our own city," Summer of Peace founder Brian Verdin said.

Kids at today's rally hope there's some truth to that saying.

"We can be able to walk down the streets every day and all night and we won't have to worry about being gunned down or robbed," Deundre Pigott said.  "It's a start, and if we can bring more from this today, it will take us farther."

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