‘This violence has got to stop’: Prayer walk marches again after woman shot and killed in Youngstown

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Earlier Sunday morning, a woman was shot and killed on Southern Boulevard in Youngstown. That marks 100 people shot in Youngstown just this year.

On Sunday afternoon, the Youngstown community continued to come together to pray for peace.

The heat certainly didn’t stop anyone from coming together for a common cause.

“It’s 90-whatever out here and roasting. I don’t actually live in the city limits, but I care about what happens to the people and especially the children in Youngstown, so I’m here to say that I care and that these people’s lives matter to me,” said Abby Auman who attended the Stop The Violence walk Sunday.

Auman was among dozens of members of the community who met on Youngstown’s west side on the corner of Mahoning and Fernwood avenues.

The Stop The Violence march and prayer walk was held by the United Pastors, Clergy and Community Leaders of Greater Youngstown Against the Violence.

“We’re coming out from among our walls to join in with the neighbors of every community on the east side, west side, the north side and south side, to say this violence has got to stop,” said Reverend Kenneth Simon, organizer.

Simon says they are not getting tired or discouraged. As long as the shootings and violence continue, the marches and prayers will continue.

“Things don’t happen overnight. We have to maintain a sustained effort to allow our presence to create a different atmosphere in the community,” Simon said.

He also says when people of the community see themselves as part of the solution, the violence will stop.

Members of the community say gatherings like this aren’t the sole solution, but they play a role in raising awareness.

“A lot of times these things can be very inspiring for the people who come together as well as being a public witness to others,” Auman said.

At the walk, they also handed out Stop The Violence yard signs to spread the word throughout the city.

Also at the prayer walk was Attorney Morgan Harper.

Earlier this month, Harper announced she was running for Senate up against Valley Congressman Tim Ryan.

The Democratic U.S. Senate candidate will be touring around Ohio, but Youngstown was her first stop Sunday. While visiting the city, she attended the Stop The Violence walk.

Harper says she wants to do what she can to bring attention to violence in the city and the state.

“It’s only going to stop if we have representatives that are going to be going to Washington to make sure that our communities get the resources they need to be able to lead stable lives. That’s at the core of it. We need to be giving young people job opportunities. We need to make sure that people have stable housing. This is all connected,” Harper said.

She says individuals have the chance to elect a senator to the United States Senate who will be at the community level.

She also says it’s important to have someone in power that understands the issues that are going on to be able to translate that into policy outcomes in Washington.

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