Community fighting back against violence in our neighborhoods - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Community fighting back against violence in our neighborhoods

(Source: WTOL) (Source: WTOL)
(Source: WTOL) (Source: WTOL)
TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -

This year Toledo has seen 34 homicides. About half of those victims are under 25 years old.

Demetrius Wallace knows all too well the pain of losing a daughter much too soon to senseless violence and is choosing to speak out.

Two 18-year-old’s shot and killed in broad daylight Tuesday. Before that, De'Asia Wallace, 20, was shot and killed after a brawl was captured on video and posted online.

"You can't fathom how you could lose your child at such a young age over some, over just some dumb stuff that could have been prevented,” said Demetrius Wallace, De’Asia’s dad.

While Demetrius grieves the loss of his daughter, he knows he can't stay silent. He used to be in the streets himself and said  we need to change our children's future and get involved to stop the violence.

"There's too much of it now,” explained Wallace. “There's too much killing. It's not just in Toledo and Ohio it's all around the world and it's just a lot of hate and a lot of killing that's going on right now and the whole world needs to change, but you can always start with one person."

Emich Williams used to be an active gang member here in Toledo. He said they used to fight when he was a kid, but they always went home at night. He knew when that changed he needed to step in.

"You can't be sitting silent,” said Williams. “People have got to speak up. You see something, you need to get to telling, I don't care if they call you a snitch or not, you've got to tell."

Bishop Brehon Hall and other church leaders said their goal is to mentor men like this to serve the community and go into the streets to spread the word.

"These last two murders were a tragedy, the two before that were a tragedy, the other thirty that has happened this year is a tragedy, and we are hurting as a people,” explained Bishop Hall, Greater New Psalmist Church. “We are hurting as a community and we've got to come up with something that at least starts to stop the hurting and the bleeding in our community."

Together they will host a meet and greet at Greater New Psalmist Church on October 21st at 3:00 p.m. to begin a much-needed dialogue on how to stop the violence in our neighborhoods.

Also, in response to the recent violence and loss of young lives, Toledo Police Chief George Kral released a statement calling for you to speak out against the violence. Even asking for you to get involved like how Demetrius and Emich are doing or just reach out to a block watch group.

A Willy's Parkway group recently re-formed and met Wednesday, but said they need more neighbors to get involved and help.

"We're asking people to be the eyes and ears for the police department because obviously they can't be everywhere 24\7,” said Florence McLennan, a block watch leader. “We tell them if you see something say something."

Block watch members said being at meetings keeps them up-to-date on what’s happening in their neighborhood, how police are responding as well as what they can do as neighbors, even anonymously.

You can learn more about Toledo's Block Watch Program or learn how you can get involved here or contact the Community Service Bureau at 419-245-1119 or 419-936-2933.

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