TACOMA, Wash. – Hundreds of demonstrators began marching through Tacoma’s Eastside neighborhood Wednesday afternoon to demand an end to violence.
The neighborhood has been marred with a series of shootings and other violence. It’s being called the ‘Drums not Guns Peace Walk’ and it began shortly after 5 p.m.
“I just feel like our kids need more than what they’re getting,” said organizer Stephanie Smith. “I think we’re missing something.”
Smith says she’s seen the violence rip apart her community, so have the Patton’s.
“You know, it’s a little scary,” said Wolf Patton. “You don’t want to go out at night or something like that.”
Wolf and his wife believe the area is not as safe as it once was – that’s why they plan to join the march. Neighbors took to the streets just last weekend marching against gun violence.
Some living in this part of Tacoma tells Q13 News they’ve seen too many of their young people suffer.
Coordinators for Wednesday’s rally want local leaders to focus on ways to engage young people before they fall in with the wrong crowd.
“Look at the areas where we’ve cut funds, or we don’t have enough resources devoted and to figure out what those zones are and to go for it,” said Smith.
Tacoma City Council member Catherine Ushka emailed Q13 News a statement concerning the march:
The partnership between the Puyallup Tribe and First Creek Neighbors organizing this march is an powerful example of community is coming together. Violence is not limited to any one area and I look forward to working with people across our community as we move forward on long term solutions.
“We can come together and find ways to motivate our youth to do different things,” said Danny Leonard, Puyallup Tribal member.
Leonard says being part of the demonstration is the first step to finding solutions to end the violence.
“If we come together and show we can stand strong together, non-native and tribal, I think we can start solving problems around here,” he said.
The march began at the Eastside Community Center and went north along Portland Avenue towards the Puyallup Tribal offices.
A spokesperson from the Puyallup Tribe also shared a statement with Q13 News from the Tribal Council:
We on the Tribal Council raise our hands to all the people of Tacoma who are coming together and standing up for one another. We support this march and the other efforts large and small to bring peace to our communities. Ultimately, we are all one community.