By Christian Romero
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – The third annual “Stop The Violence” march to promote “Unity in the Community” took place on Saturday in and around Waryas Park.
Community advocates and organizations came out in force, in light of the recent gun violence in the city of Poughkeepsie.
“Three years ago, in June, we had a rash of seven shootings in five days”, said Stop The Violence Founder, Robert Pemberton.
“We raise awareness against senseless acts of violence in our community, and we need the community to come out and support their city.”
The rally and march address all acts of violence, including gun violence, bullying and domestic violence.
“We march through the neighborhoods that are ravished by gun violence, drugs, poverty to bring awareness, letting people know that we care about them.”
“We do not want Poughkeepsie to spiral into the cycle of gun violence,” said Sarah Kozloff, Dutchess County coordinator of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. “We lobby for common sense gun laws, and my group has come out to show that we believe in peaceful resolutions of conflict.”
“It’s people speaking up and saying that we are not going to tolerate violence in the city, or anywhere for that matter,” said Mayor Rob Rolison.
“The public needs to stand up and say that we are not going to have this in the city of Poughkeepsie and let these guys know that this is not a place to do it.”
To that effort, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York recently announced a major arrest of 32 individuals directly related to crimes involving guns and violence. But just nine days after that announcement, a city of Poughkeepsie 18 year old was shot at the intersection of Academy and Cannon streets.
“We can’t pretend that law enforcement is going to solve every ill of gun violence. They can’t. We need to do it as a community,” Rolison said.
In addition to group and organization information, the event offered several speakers, awareness campaigns and musical acts.