Neighborhood walk kicks off Milwaukee Peace Week as city pledges to reduce violence this summer

NOW: Neighborhood walk kicks off Milwaukee Peace Week as city pledges to reduce violence this summer

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The city of Milwaukee's very first Peace Week began Monday, May 22.

Community partners and city leaders led a neighborhood walk near the Journey House to demonstrate the city's commitment to reducing violence this summer.

The adults walked Monday night because they know how violence impacts their communities, but the children know, too.

City leaders are touting a new program that will try and reduce deadly violence in Milwaukee communities. Their messages were similar to those of past summers, but this time they're hoping for different outcomes.

At the walk, 10-year-old Zamieria said she has seen, "Sometimes people will be mean to people. They'll be arguing."

Zamieria and her friend Jada's day care has to teach the girls and their friends to hit the floor when gunshots ring out in their Clarke Square neighborhood.

It happens in a lot of Milwaukee neighborhoods, and kids notice. Eight-year-old Navi said she's seen, "Fighting. Shooting."

On Monday evening, the city kicked off Peace Week by walking through the neighborhood to show a united front against violence.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said they're, "Working to make sure that we alert folks that there are decent people in this city who want to have a safe summer."

Thirteen outreach teams will be deployed to neighborhoods with the highest rates of violence. And the new Promise Keepers are trained to be trusted messengers to interrupt violence.

Office of Violence Prevention Director Ashanti Hamilton said, "We have all of them working together to work in our community to bring folks to the resources that are made to improve our community."

More than a dozen community groups walked Monday, but not many of them were from the south side.

Rafael Mercado leads a group called Team HAVOC. He said of the peace walk, "It's nice, a call for action. But make it continuous."

Mercado says his neighborhood needs more programming for teens, grant money for services, and daily help with gangs and opioid overdoses.

Still, he's confident this can be a safe summer in Milwaukee. "Yeah, it can happen if the community steps up and does their part and the politicians do their part, as well. Just don't come one day and that's it."

On Monday, those politicians were talking the talk.

Milwaukee District 8 Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa told the crowd, "We don't do this work alone."

Mayor Johnson added, "Everybody's got a role to play in this."

And they also walked the walk. Johnson said people, "Want to see a city that is free of violence, and that's exactly what they're telling me. And that's what we're working toward right now."

Hamilton said the existing outreach teams and the new Promise Keepers will work in every neighborhood throughout the city.

Share this article: