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Harlem Walk for Peace

JA'PHETH TOULSON Special to the AmNews | 8/30/2012, 4:45 p.m.

In attempt to promote safety and combat issues that have been leading the youth to commit violent gun crimes, bullying and domestic violence, Harlem will be walking for peace.

"We see it happening and there's a little bit of consternation when there's the latest shooting, then it goes away because we shift off to the Kardashians or something else. We're saying that we're at a point now where we can't afford to let our attention drift away from this issue," said Executive Director of the Walk for Peace Andre Robinson.

Robinson said the youth shouldn't be vilified or demonized because many of them have grown up alone without proper guidance and accountability. Poverty, racism and poor parenting are some of the issues he believes lead to forceful violence in the community--issues that have been a part of society for decades. For this reason, the walk will address these core issues and problems in society. Hundreds are expected to attend.

The New York Road Runners are helping with the organization of the event and the 3.1-mile Percy Sutton Harlem 5K run, which begins at West 135th and St. Nicholas Avenue at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 25. All are requested to participate. According to nyrr.org, the New York Road Runners is the world's premier community running organization and seeks to improve community health and well-being by championing a lifelong commitment to running.

The Walk for Peace in Our Communities begins at 10 a.m. at West 135th and St. Nicholas Avenue at 10 a.m. After the walk, there will be speeches by elected officials and police departments about what needs to be focused on in the Harlem community.

Some groups who aim to raise awareness and demote violence are Harlem Mothers Stop Another Violent End, the National Urban Health Conference, Operation SNUG, Crown Heights Youth Collective, the Eagle Academy for Young Men, the Police Athletic League and Street Corner Resources. People can donate to these organizations if they wish.

"They have a lot of practice in this environment and dealing with the multiple levels of violence affecting our young people and our communities [like] mass incarceration and all the rest of those other issues that lead to more crises in society." Despite the help of these organizations, Robinson said there are proactive steps the community must take to address those types of problems in their environment when children are younger.

"It's just not a one-shot thing and then we despair...there's lots and lots of work to do all year long in this regard so this is just a demonstration of that commitment and coalition," Robinson said.