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St. Pete leaders hold march against gun violence

Posted: 3:42 PM, Dec 18, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-18 15:43:56-05

Folks from throughout St. Petersburg came together Friday evening in a fight against gun violence. In recent weeks, parts of the city have been hit with plenty of blood shed.

There have been six fatal shootings in the past six weeks.

Mayor Rick Kriseman organized the march, however, community activists tell ABC Action News that simply walking the streets won't bring change.

Rev. Clarence Williams, the pastor of Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal church, has been working in the south St. Pete community for nearly twenty years. He told ABC Action News that instead of marches, the city needs to focus on funding for educational and mentoring programs. Those are two things he believes will hit at the heart of the issue.

"These kids, their blood is flowing in the street. You know what they said to me yesterday? Pastor, nobody cares, nobody cares. Nobody wants to educate them, nobody wants to give them a job. Nobody cares if their teeth fall out, if they have diabetes, nobody cares. How can you keep young people engage in being lawful, productive citizens in a system that has disenfranchised them."

- Rev. Williams.

For his part, Mayor Kriseman said the city is addressing the issue through a record number of mentoring programs. However, he stressed getting guns off the streets is critical to solving the problem.

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