All week we have been talking with community leaders about the work they are doing to help reduce violence, especially after the death of 4-year-old Jeremiah Ward.
Friday we talked with Vice President of Peoria Community Against Violence, Gloria Clark, who said the group was at the crime scene the night Ward was murdered.
Gloria Clark is passionate about the work she is doing with PCAV, partially because she grew up around activists fighting for justice and then married into the Black Panther’s family.
“When Jeremiah was murdered, I watched our group band together at the hospital and how we supported that family,” said Clark.
Peoria Community Against Violence has a simple but powerful message: reduce violence in Peoria and be proactive. When there is a homicide, PCAV said they have a crisis response team, who provide services like counseling, food and even financial help to families. They also listen.
“And stand behind that yellow tape and watch a mom on her knees crying and you were there to hold her up and let her know that she’s not alone. I think the more of us that are present, the more of us to show that we are not going to continue to just sit back and watch this happen in our community, it will stop. You don’t give people room to pull out a gun if you are present,” stated Clark.
To prevent violence, PCAV holds walks, forums and does canvassing in neighborhoods. They also want to start going into schools.
“There’s not a quick fix. The only quick fix is that we all get involved,” stated Clark.
Friday night the group planned a memory walk on the East Bluff. This walk was planned before the murder of Jeremiah Ward. The group went around the neighborhood, letting residents know they care and are here to help.