19th annual March Against Violence promotes unity in Flint this weekend

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 4:55 PM EDT
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(6/24/2020) - Nearly two decades ago, Flint held its first March Against Violence, making the statement the community will not tolerate senseless acts of violence.

Saturday, June 27th, WOW Outreach is hosting the 19th Annual Unity March through the City.

The March Against Violence starts at Our Savior Lutheran Church Saturday morning. Participants will make their way down Saginaw Street, ending at Flint's City Hall.

“I have to be the change I desire to see, and that means getting involved in a march or a protest, joining together with my brothers and my sisters, connecting with other people, regardless if I like them or not,” community activist, Kenyetta Dotson explained. “We have to agree to disagree and be able to come to the table and leave our differences outside the room.”

For 19 years, Dotson has helped organize the event, bringing together families who have lost loved ones to violence and the community that supports them, including city leaders and pastors.

“This march means so much to me because I've lost my Auntie, I lost my best friend, and I've lost so many other people,” she said. “But I understand that the violence that we face is because people are hurting, people are in pain.”

Dotson said part of the effort to stop the violence is healing that pain -- treat people equally, make resources accessible to everyone. It’s something she said our society is starting to work towards.

“Black people have been victims for a really long time. We've been survivors also for a really long time. But now, others are finally coming to the forefront and saying no more, this cannot happen,” Dotson explained.

But she said, marching isn't enough, which is why they'll be registering people to vote once they reach City Hall.

“My only hope is that we continue to collaborate and to work together. We continue to have hard conversations, we continue to find out how do we work together, how do we establish deep relationships with one another, regardless of our cultural differences, our color differences, our family differences, our social differences,” Dotson said. “We have to figure out how do we continue to work together and function harmoniously.”

Dotson is asking participants to line up around 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning, outside of the church. Our Savior Lutheran Church is located at the corner of Saginaw and York Streets.

The march will begin at 11:30 a.m. It ends at Flint’s City Hall.

You can walk, drive, ride a bike, roller blade, however you’d like to participate. You are encouraged to wear a mask.

To volunteer, call WOW Outreach at (810) 789-7700.