BALTIMORE — With violence impacting Baltimore at a high rate, a local non-profit group spent Memorial Day with its “Summer of Peace” events to promote ways of stopping violence.
As of Monday afternoon, Baltimore City Police say there are investigating 137 murders since the start of the year.
The “Summer of Peace” events included a concert that spoke out against violence, including those involving teens and children.
Community group “We Our Us” took place Monday in Baltimore’s Sandtown neighborhood.
Sandtown resident Antoine Bennett hopes the community event gives residents hope and inspires them.
“Anytime you offer hope and you put the hearts of the residents, inspire the residents and cherish the residents, that’s always a win,” Bennett said.
Torey Reynolds, who lives in the Sandtown community, said that she has seen violent crime in her neighborhood become more common.
“Oh this the worst I’ve seen it,” Reynolds said. “I’m talking about killing people in front of people. Growing up, this used to be an area that was very oriented as far as community-oriented, family-oriented.”
Residents said that although drugs and violent crime often plague the Sandtown community, many believe there are deeper-rooted issues that need to be addressed.
“If you got young kids who got criminal records they can’t get a job because their records is so messed up,” Reynolds said. “A lot of people got underlying mental issues that they don’t know about and need help with, don’t have insurance to go nowhere to get the help.”
That’s where community group “We Our Us” comes in with their “Summer of Peace” events, hoping to impact areas by spreading a peaceful message and providing resources.
“Not only do we wanna spread the message of life, but also, we want to bring resources so those that need it, whether it’s jobs, whether it’s treatment, whatever it is, ‘We Our Us’ is here to bring those resources," said Antoine Burton, 'We Our Us' organizer. “Instead of death, we want to put the message out of life live and not die.”
Monday’s event was the first of many that will happen this summer.
Organizers said the mission is to ultimately reduce crime and stop the gun violence in communities.
“We are devastated as it relates to gun violence in the community,” Bennett said. “Most people think we’re desensitized to gun violence in the community. We are just as devastated as somebody looking from the outside in the community.”