KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- About 100 people representing more than 40 different organizations took part in a Peace Walk down Prospect Avenue Thursday.
All speakers seemed to agree there's not one cause, nor one solution. But they think hope for change begins with unity.
The event began with a prayer at 39th and Prospect "that our land will be healed from the senseless violence that has overtaken our community.”
That's a corner where Kansas City Police Capt. Nate Simecek said, “You could not drive through there without seeing open air drug sales. It’s not there right now. We had a shooting there probably every other night. It was crazy.”
But one corner’s successes haven’t kept Kansas City off the FBI’s list of the nation’s most dangerous cities.
“I’m hugely concerned the violence is beyond out of control. It’s epidemic proportions, and it doesn’t seem like we have a plan to stop it," said Teesha Miller, executive director for Youth Ambassadors.
As they walked, some held signs with messages for the community; others held photos of loved ones lost to gun violence.
“Let our voices be heard as victims. We are no longer victims; we are survivors, and we are out here trying to stop the violence as much as we can," said Latrice Murray, who lost her son Darreon to gun violence in 2009.
"If we’re walking, we’re standing together, coming together. It can be the beginning of a community that doesn’t operate in silos but can work together," organizer Pastor Cassandra Wainright said.
As for Kansas City's rank of fifth among the nation’s most dangerous cities?
“I don’t believe this is hopeless. I think there are many things that we can do address violence. There are many cities that have pulled themselves off that top 10 list, and Kansas City can do that, too," Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said.
Baker locked hands with Kansas City Mayor Quentin Lucas in prayer prior to the peace walk.