I get the criticism that a walk won’t stop violence. I totally get it.
However, you’re looking at it wrong. It’s not about the walk.
The Victory Walk, as part of our Victory Over Violence campaign, is an opportunity to show our fellow citizens living in neighborhoods plagued by crime that they aren’t alone in their fight. There are people — in all parts of the city — who support them and are willing to dedicate their time to help find a solution.
If you go into these neighborhoods and talk to people, they’ll tell you no one cares about them. They feel alone. They feel isolated. At times, they feel desperate.
Following the last Victory Walk, I took the time to soak in what happened for the next two hours at Centennial Park. You saw strangers from different neighborhoods speaking and interacting over a common cause. You saw children from different life situations connecting through sports. I tossed a football with a boy who showed up to the event with a mask over his face. By the time we were done, he was wearing a smile. I watched my 6-year-old daughter grab the hand of a girl she didn’t know and dance with her as a crowd of people looked on laughing.
Bottom line: I saw people who probably didn’t feel too good about their family’s living situation experience the sensation of optimism about the future. I saw hope.