GARY | Families who have lost loved ones to gun violence gathered Saturday with political and community leaders and law enforcement for the sixth annual Mother’s Day Stop the Violence March and Rally.
“We want to drive home to those perpetrators that there are consequences for their actions,” said event organizer Dwight Taylor, of Concerned Citizens Against Violence in Gary.
The eight-block march from the Christ Temple Church parking lot at 42nd Avenue and Broadway to the Gleason Park Golf Course parking lot at 34th Avenue and Jefferson Street drew more than 50 participants, including a dozen members of the Buffalo Soldiers motorcycle club.
“(Gun violence) is such an important topic. It seems to be on the increase,” said James Dawson, of Schererville, retired East Chicago fire chief. “If we can get to these young people, we could change this.”
Nina Klooster, of Lake Village, a member of the national organization Moms Demand Action, attended the event to distribute bookmarks listing five “common-sense solutions” to gun violence.
Those solutions include reporting the sale of large quantities of ammunition to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and banning online sales of ammunition.
Officers from the Gary Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department escorted the marchers, who carried signs and photos of loved ones, including Josiah Shaw.
The 13-month-old was killed in his mother’s car Jan. 28, 2008. His mother, Kwana Shaw, was leaving a friend’s home on West 21st Avenue when a gunman shot her and drove off in her car. The baby was found dead of gunshot wounds when the car was found several blocks away. Josiah’s grandmother, Donna Shaw, walked in the march and spoke at the rally.
“If we don’t work together, if we don’t come together as a community, what are we here for?” Donna Shaw said.
She echoed another of the event’s messages — that those who know something about crimes need to “speak up."
“We have to make sure these perpetrators are caught. We have to understand the void this leaves in our community,” Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said. “It will take every one of us, all 365 days a year, to end the violence. Our children will be better for it.”
Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram told the crowd that he has been in contact with the FBI several times in the last few weeks about Josiah Shaw’s unsolved murder, and that the department continues to follow leads in unsolved homicides.
“We have solved five cold cases,” Ingram said. “We need citizens’ cooperation to solve these problems.”
One of those cases involves the slaying of 25-year-old Richard Glynn Taylor on Dec. 17.
“He was just walking to the gas station on Aetna Street,” his father, Richard Taylor, said while holding a large photo of his son. “They caught the girl last week.”
Jacqueline Kennedy, 18, of Gary, was charged last week with murder and murder in the perpetration of a robbery in connection with Richard Glynn Taylor's slaying.
For Lorraine Scott, of Gary, the unsolved murder of her son, Leonard, on Sept. 22, 2005, at 25th Avenue and Connecticut Street, the march and rally brought raw emotions to the surface.
Scott vehemently objected to a talk by guest speaker Latazna Johnson, who said the home life of many of those killed led them to be murdered.
“My son wasn’t in a gang. He was a good boy,” Scott shouted.