KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Even before Friday's shooting that claimed the lives of two Wyandotte County sheriff's deputies, people in Kansas City, Kansas had enough of the violence. Organizers planned a rally to end community violence months ago.
Despite heat radiating from the parking lot at 9th and Quindaro, a group of 20 Gateway High Steppers kept the beat in their silver sequined shoes. Using only whistles, drums, and their feet, they stomped our a rhythm and carried a message all too familiar today.
Only once in their set did the group say anything. They stopped mid-step and yelled in unison, "Stop the violence!"
A man identified as Rev. Davis stood on a stage near the DJ Booth. Microphone in hand, he spoke to the crowd.
"We all know what we out here for, right?" he asked. "We're out here to stop the violence. We are a community that's had enough."
Though these people have had enough, the violence continues.
Ben Woods organized the event, four months before the heat set in and before many of the 19 other homicides in KCK occurred, which now includes the tragic deputy shooting.
"Officers killing and getting dying, over senseless stuff," said Woods. "The kids are dying over senseless stuff."
He continued, "I mean -- we got to get together. Our community's got to come together, that's our problem."
Nearby, the Gateway High Steppers kept dancing.
"Today, we came out to support the Stop the Violence cause," said LaVeda Davis, "and we truly believe in supporting our community for anything in the world."
Davis coaches the drill team, which is a team of 87 at its peak, with members ranging from eight to 18 years old. "We've lost several members to violence," said Davis, "and so that's all the more reason why we're out here. This can affect any of us."
So they come out - in the shade, in the sun, in the smoke from the grill. To take a step towards taking their community back, though they don't know what the next step may be.