FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – People rallied Saturday morning to make the community a safer place. It was the second annual Pick up a Book, Not a Gun rally hosted by Fort Wayne’s NAACP branch.
Dozens of people gathered at the corner of Colerick St and Anthony Blvd for the rally. They marched about a mile down Anthony to McKinnie Ave. Organizers said they chose that route because it’s a part of town that’s seen some of the city’s most violent crimes. They said the message they wanted to send was to stand for justice and give youth more productive outlets.
This time last year there had been 16 fatal shootings in Allen County. So far this year, there have been four homicides, and many of the people who participated Saturday had lost friends and family members to violence.
“We will be out here every year until we can say there is no more senseless gun violence in our city…Less violence doesn’t mean no violence,” Rev. Dr. Saharra Bledsoe, the Fort Wayne NAACP President, said.
NAACP leaders said they attribute the lower homicide numbers to the harsh winter weather and said they scheduled the rally for Saturday because summer is near, and they wanted to make the statement early.