Richmond Commemorates King’s Birthday, Marches to End Violence

By Kia
Croom

From left to right: Marena Brown, Otheree Christian, and Goretha Johnson. Photo by Joe L. Fisher

Residents from the Iron Triangle, Shields-Reid, Central and Parchester Village neighborhoods will be Marching for Change on Saturday, Jan. 14.
More than 200 community members are expected to participate in the march to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and make a bold statement against violent crime.
Event organizers Otheree Christian, Marena Brown and Goretha Johnson reside in Central Richmond, North Richmond and Parchester Village respectively, neighborhoods that have the highest crime rates in the city.   The organizers, who are presidents of their neighborhood councils and watch groups, view this march as a testament of solidarity and are committed to unifying these and other communities in Richmond.
“The African-American community has been plagued by violence for a long time,” said Christian. “We have to play a role in engaging our community to promote non-violence and change the negatives to positives.”
“We are trying to create a movement, so that we can be one city. If you live in the City of Richmond, it affects all of us,” said Brown. “We have to erase the division across the lines. We talk about equality but what does that really mean?”
According to Brown, Marching for Change is the second anti-violence event that she and Christian have organized to protest violent crime in Richmond.  In August 2011, the two organized “Stop the Violence,” a march dedicated to combating gang rivalries between North and Central Richmond youth and young adults.
People of all ages are encouraged to participate in Marching for Change, which will start at 8:30 a.m. at the Nevin Community Center at 598 Nevin Ave. in Richmond. From there, they will march and caravan to the corner of Chesley Avenue and Fred Jackson Way in North Richmond, where walkers will unite residents of the Parchester Village Community. From North Richmond walkers will continue hand-in-hand to the Shields-Reid Community Center at 1410 Kelsey St.   
Churches, businesses, nonprofit and civic organizations are encouraged to participate in the event as co-sponsors. Backers can provide transportation for disabled persons, in-kind goods and refreshments for walkers, organize walk teams and co-market the event.
To become a co-sponsor or to learn more about Marching for Change call Otheree Christian at (510) 860-3389 or Marena Brown at (510) 932-3471.  Another Marching for Change event is slated to take place in the spring.  
Kia Croom is a contributing writer for the Richmond Post.

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