Community leaders hold peace rally in Baltimore

Posted at 11:28 AM, Apr 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-25 07:21:09-04

They met at the corner of Pennsylvania and North Avenues, the center of last year's rioting. Hundreds of people including local church leaders, activists, politicians, even actor Danny Glover came out with folks from the area to march for peace and unity

They hit the streets, chanting as they walked more then a mile through the city. Ending at the Freddie Gray Center on Eutaw Place.

"This is a march for unity in our city, a march for peace in our city," said Pastor Jamal Bryant.

Freddie Gray's sister was at the event, and thanked people for coming out.

"We just want justice, and we still screaming justice for Freddie Gray," she said.

Baltimore has seen progress since the uprising, but in many neighborhoods there is still a major lack of jobs, too much crime, and not enough opportunities.

"Our young black people need direction, they need help, they need education," said Shelton Stanley.

"It's tense out here," Donny Glover said. "And I think any move in the wrong direction could turn this thing upside down."

"Its gonna take time to see how much people are really willing to help make a change," Shirley Rowley said.

Speakers at the event say now the city is aware of the deep-seeded issues in some areas. And there is still a lot of frustration.

"Last year when we had the uprising it was so powerful in itself," Malacka Reed El said. "And the anniversary of the uprising means uprising from oppression, uprising from being asleep, uprising from being satisfied."

Organizers say Baltimore's future depends on everyone coming together. And real change will come from action.

"I think we've gone from being angry to being resolved, the Band-Aid has been ripped off, we see the open sore, and we know what needs to be applied to it," Bryant said. "A march is not going to change that, a rally or hashtag is not going to change it, it brings awareness to it.  Now we're calling into accountability that what we want is very clear, jobs and opportunity."

The trials for the six officers involved in Freddie Gray's arrest start up again next month.

Download the ABC2 News app for the iPhone, Kindle and Android.