Man walking from Chicago to White House to end gun violence

Demetrius Nash (in green hat) talking with Fort Wayne leaders about gun violence.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A man hoping to help end gun violence is walking from Chicago to the White House to raise awareness. Sunday, he walked through Fort Wayne.

Chicago political and community activist Demetrius Nash started his journey August 4.

“As I walk away from Chicago I know that there’s people getting killed every day,” he said. “I’m walking because of that. It’s propelling me to finish the journey.”

Nash is walking on behalf of his organization “Replace Guns with Hammers,” a community-wide initiative implemented to create job opportunities for young men ages 18-24.  The hope is that the initiative will reduce the gun violence plaguing Chicago’s streets by encouraging young men to gain experience in construction through rehabbing old buildings.

“The reason why I’m hurting is because of the gun violence,” Nash explained. “Hurt people are hurting people throughout the country. When hurt people are hurting people you have an environment that calls for us to do something about it, those that aren’t hurting in the same way the rest of the village is hurting need to get out of their homes and love on the community and on these young men and women.”

He stopped in Fort Wayne today to talk community impact with local leaders. NAACP Fort Wayne President Larry Gist is supportive of Nash’s mission.

“We need to stop the violence, especially the retaliation type violence,” he said. “People shooting each other because, ‘he shot my friend’ and so forth. It’s not just hurting the person that you killed. It’s impacting the whole family. It’s impacting the family that was killed and it’s impacting the family who did the killing.”

When Nash gets to DC, he plans to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus as well as Illinois congressmen and women. Greater yet, he hopes his entire journey sparks a movement.

“Hopefully, it’s an awakening,” he said. “Hopefully it does something to you that says if this young man get out his bed and walk from his grandmother’s house, 672 miles to the White House, what can I do in this community. Because we all are a village and it affects all of us.”

Nash’s next stop is Cleveland. His goal is to walk the entire journey from Chicago to Washington D.C. in 30 days.