BALTIMORE — The fifth annual Thou Shall Not Kill and Stop the Violence rally was held in Baltimore Friday, as local leaders and the community call for the murders in the city to stop.
Local funeral homes, faith and local leaders and the community came together in prayer on North Avenue before traveling east stopping at various intersections as they pleaded to the city of Baltimore for the violence to come to an end.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison joined the group and spoke after prayer. He urged everyone to work together to make the city a safer place.
“When you pray things happen. Prayer changes things. I know it for myself,” he said. “But i also know that faith without works is dead. You got to put in the work. We are here with you to put in the work. “
The William C. Brown Community Funeral Home helped organize the rally, where more than a half dozen hearses led the procession—a powerful message to the city that the back of hearse is what a life of crime can lead to.
“The hearse is to let you know, this is it. If you get in the back of this, this is it,” said Corey Larkins with the William C. Brown Community Funeral Home. "People are tired of riding in limousines and looking at the back of hearses of a loved ones that's been shot and killed in this city."
He added,"We just want change."
Cynthia Bruce’s son Marcus Downer, 23, was shot and killed in Baltimore in 2015. She said his killer is still out there.
“Its a whole in my heart that will never be filled,” she said.
Bruce is now a member of a group called Mother of Murdered Sons and Daughters (MOMS). She joined the organization to turn her pain into purpose.
“I know a lot of mothers that have loss their loved ones. Their grief. It’s a grief like no other grief,” she said. “My issue is that these young people should stop. Stop the murders. Stop the homicides. Stop the retaliation. Killing young girls, women, and older people is not cool.”
The city of Baltimore is on pace for 300 homicides for the sixth straight year. But for the community, one life lost is one too many.
Community members like Bruce are holding on to faith and each other. She’s encouraged by the anti-violence work in the community that one day it will be peace that will kill the violence.
“I’m very hopeful because if we continue to these movements and the people that need to be apart of this, the young people need to be apart of this to see the impact that this killing is doing to the city of Baltimore and all over the world,” Bruce said.