Hundreds join hands in rally against violence Eighth annual crusade sends anti-crime message

August 12, 1996|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

The kind of fire the Rev. Willie Ray says he wants to set in Baltimore churches is one that will make congregants come out and join hands against the killing.

Yesterday, the hundreds who did come out for the eighth annual Love Hands Across Baltimore Crusade were not enough to make an unbroken link from Hilton Street on the west side to Milton Avenue on the east side.

The event was sponsored by more than three dozen community, governmental and business groups.

Some day, Ray said, enough people will join hands to form a chain "from Hilton to Milton."

"The concept is simple," said the founder of the Stop the Killing Coalition, which holds remembrances for victims of violent crime and rallies Baltimoreans to take a stand against crime. "Once the churches catch fire -- figuratively -- and feel their responsibility to come out and be counted, it will happen.

"I know most movements, from Jesus on down, start out with a few faithful followers who believe in the concept," Ray said.

Several of those who gathered at the rally's center -- the steps of the Baltimore City school system headquarters on North Avenue -- heard about it not from their churches but from the radio or from the music played yesterday by marching bands and radio station sponsors.

Kimberly Brooks came from Northwest Baltimore. Her sister, Kendra Brown, came from Northeast Baltimore. Both brought their husbands and children.

Mack Whitaker and his family came all the way from Edgemere. And Latiere Dillard, 18, just walked around the corner from her Greenmount West Community neighborhood.

Dillard came to see the marching band she used to dance in, the Eastern District Police Athletic League's, sponsored by the police precinct. She and another former PAL marcher swung their hips on the sidelines, in time with the girls in uniform.

"It might make a difference," Dillard said of the rally. "It makes me feel good."

Sharon Horsey and Mack Whitaker of Edgemere brought their children Jovon, 15, and Shania, 4.

"Anything that can make it better, I'll be there," Horsey said. "This is so positive, you can't beat it."

Among the sponsors most visible at the demonstration was the Korean Businessmen's League and Society. In the past several years, about five Korean-American business owners have been killed in robberies each year and three have been killed this year, said Ky Chung, chairman of the business league.

The keynote speaker was C. Delores Tucker, chairwoman of the National Political Congress of Black Women, who handed out literature and urged people to join an economic boycott against "gangsta rap" and other music and literature that she said encourage violence and demean women.

Pub Date: 8/12/96

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