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Community holds rally against recent violence in Columbia

On Friday, more than a hundred people, including community leaders and volunteers gathered in Douglass Park to rally against recent violence in Columbia.

This comes after the latest Tuesday night shooting on Park Avenue.

“It’s ironic, but we had planned this a couple of weeks ago and now we’ve got some violence that just happened a block away from here,” said Lorenzo Lawson with the Youth Empowerment Zone.

Friday’s event provided food, school supplies, haircuts and clothing vouchers to help out kids going back to school.

“We think education is very important to prevent some of the violence because we think that violence is just a by-product of poverty,” Lawson said.

But the “Silence the Violence” movement reaches far beyond events at Douglass Park.

“I’m really impressed with these folks because they’ve gone out to some of the scariest neighborhoods in Columbia right after acts of violence,” said Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp. “They’ve been out to Bodie Drive, which is an area that’s really struggled in my ward.”

Volunteers with the “Silence the Violence” movement said they want those who live in the more crime ridden areas to know the community is behind them to support them in times when they experience violence.

“For us, silencing the violence, this is an opportunity to simply give back to the community, give back to the kids and really prepare them for school in a positive way as well,” said local pastor Lester Woods Jr.

The group said they hold prayer walks in the city just about every Friday.

So far, no arrests have been made in the latest shooting on Park Avenue.

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