AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – They prayed while pounding the pavement, calling for an end to gun violence. Members of several local churches held a march and prayer vigil, asking the community and lawmakers to take action.
They called it the “Walk For Our Lives,” sponsored by clergy and members of various United Methodist churches.
About 150 people gather in front of the John S. Knight Center in Akron Wednesday afternoon to rally against gun violence and the recent mass shootings plaguing the country.
“Praying is good. We can keep weeping, weeping is good, but we have to call our representatives, our legislators to say that we have to put some strategies into place to end violence today,” said Bishop Tracy S. Malone of the United Methodist Church East Ohio Conference.
“Gun violence breaks God’s heart, gun violence breaks God’s heart,” chanted the marchers.
After the brief rally, the people who attended hit the street, marching down East Market Street to spread their message. Most of them are from various United Methodist Churches in Northeast Ohio.
The nearly mile and a half trek ended at Family of Faith United Methodist Church.
“Love each other, that’s what we’re to be doing, we can’t be doing it if we’re shooting each other. That is not love and that is not God,” said the church’s pastor, Rev. Ronald Shultz.
The group held a brief program in front of the church, where people from groups like Moms Demand Action and city council members addressed the crowd.
Some compared violence in the United States to other countries around the world.
“What we have that they don’t have is easy access to deadly weapons,” said Pat Krummrich from Moms Demand Action.
Some admit there are harder solutions to combat youth violence than passing gun legislation.
“We have to fix our housing and we have to fix our transportation and we have to fix recreation. We have to fix education, we have to acknowledge that there are upstream issues that folks are dealing with that lead to the conditions that lead to violence,” said Ward 8 councilman Shammas Malik.
“We need to say something to do something, to be a voice because if we’re not, then we’re giving up,” said Judith Nedel, from Kent.