East Texans Take A Stand Against Violence - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/30/06-Longview

East Texans Take A Stand Against Violence

Tonight (8/30), Longview residents took a stand against violence, by joining police and local ministers in the Reclaim Longview Prayer Walk.

They say it's time to take back their neighborhoods and put an end to the crime that has recently erupted in South Longview. Just this month, there were five shootings within 12 hours of each other, violence that participants say has to stop.

Prayers, posters, and singing...all could be heard and seen around the block as Longview residents marched together for nearly a mile--a united front against violence in South Longview.

Pastor Earl Bonner, a participant in the Prayer Walk says, "I think this is a good start for us coming together first of all because if we can come together in love and in unity I believe we can make a tremendous difference."

They say tonight's Prayer Walk is a way to take back their neighborhoods, to put an end to the violence.

"Neighborhoods should have always been for children to go outside and play without fear of being shot, it's just time to stop it," says James Cantu, a Longview resident.

Citizens from all over came by the hundreds--but with one message.

Mary Ward says,"we got to let the enemy know that we're not afraid to stand up against the things that are going on. This march sets a pace for others to know that we mean business, that the churches are just not churches within a building, but the churches are stepping out of the building to take a stand to come out here into the communities and pray for those that are in need of it."

Many felt the walk sent the right message, especially to the younger generation. "We have to stop the violence, we have to start bringing all these people to God, and hopefully if we can get to the young people and get their eyes to open up and get to be a good community we got a whole other generation that can grow up and have a good future," says Tina Taylor.

And organizers say tonight's event was a success--"the unity and the peace and the love that everyone displayed here today is what we were trying and hoping to accomplish," says Reverend Keven Johnson with the Ministerial Alliance.

It is an event city leaders say will mark the beginning of the end of violence in South Longview. Community leaders say they are already organizing the next Unity In The Community event. They hope to plan similar marches every month throughout different parts of Longview.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.  

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