Columbus activist groups not backing down to end gun violence

For the last several weeks, the Linden Community & Columbus Ohio Stop the Violence has walked in the neighborhood, urging people to put down the guns.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Marvin Gaye’s hit song “What’s Going On” came out 50 years ago.  

Those three words circle back and forth on Michael Shephard’s mind when it comes to the violence in Columbus.  

“It really hurts. I mean it’s getting worse, man. The city getting bad you know,” he said.  

So far this year, 93 people have been killed due to gun violence.  

Shephard wonders if people get the message of ending the violence.  

“I got little kids so you know anything can happen. It’s just being heard as much as it can. It’s going to take a whole lot of work to get to the youth,” he said.  

But for the last several Mondays, Shephard has watched Derrick Russell and other activists walk the streets in his neighborhood in Linden. They urge people to put the guns down – and pick up love.  

“It means something to me that you know, our people are trying to come together and help our people in our community it’s just the strength that we need for each other,” Shephard said.

Russell is the founder of Linden Community & Columbus Ohio Stop the Violence. He said no matter how many walks they have, he won’t give up on the youth.

“Ninety-three, you know, it’s sad. We got to really step it up more community involvement and making a tougher stand on each other,” Russell said.

People marching on Monday handed out supplies and resources to neighbors as they walked through the community.  

“For the parents and the kids, it’s hope. They see hope and also they see people coming together and the collaboration effort and they can see ‘aw they care’,” said Russell.  

The solution to ending gun violence may still be far away, but Shephard said one day they’ll find the answer.  

“We can’t give up on our youth. If we give up on our youth, we’re giving up on ourselves. They’re our leaders for tomorrow,” Shephard said.

June 28 will be the last community walk at the location on Cleveland Avenue.  

Russell said next, they’re headed to East Hudson Street and Joyce Avenue.

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