Marching against violence
On a sunny Thursday evening, about 100 people gathered in front of the Durham Police Department on West Chapel Hill Street for its seventh annual March Against Violence.
Durham Mayor Bill Bell talked about the importance of gun control legislation and remembering victims. Diane Jones of Parents of Murdered Children passed out white carnations to marchers whose loved ones were killed. Marchers carried signs, many drawn by youth, that said things like “Violence is Bad.” “Violence is Against the Law.” “End the Fear. End the Violence. Speak Up.” “We miss you! No more killing! Respect each other.”
Written on others were the names of those whose lives were ended by violence. Tony Williams. Trevor D. Spain. Leroshard Gooch. Catrina. Darrell. Demario.
Catrina, Darrell and Demario were all related. Catrina Carr was shot and killed in 2001 at age 15. Darrell Carr was killed in 2002 at age 28. Demario Carr was killed in 2011 at age 26.
Lessie Carr carried a sign with the names of Darrell, her brother, and Catrina, her niece. Carr said she got the call about 3 a.m. about Catrina being shot off Holloway Street. When she heard about her brother, it was 2 a.m. and it had happened on Hillside Avenue, she said.
“We need change,” she said. Carr came to the march last year, as did her niece Jackie Howard, the mother of Demario Carr, who was shot and killed on the Durham Freeway.
“We need to protect our children,” Howard said. She also has two daughters.
Demario Carr was a fun and active child, she said. “He gave his last. He was my son, a father and my best friend. I just want justice and closure so I can go on with my life and raise his three children,” Howard said.
She would like whoever killed her son to pay for the crime her or she committed so she could see justice done. Howard said she appreciates the Durham Police Department “for everything they’ve done to take the bad guys off the street…There’s no reason for a human being to take another human being’s life,” she said.
As Howard talked, she and other marchers rounded the corner of Duke Street onto Main Street and past Brightleaf Square’s shopping and dining. People eating dinner outside at Devine’s Sports Corner watched the marchers go by. Marchers wore T-shirts with information about the March Against Violence, Parents of Murdered Children or Child Abuse Prevention Month. Before the march started, Esteban Jimenez was recognized for creating the winning design for the blue anti-child-abuse T-shirts. Uniformed Durham police officers marched, too.
As about 100 marchers headed back up to the Durham Police Department, the front of the line called out “No more violence! We need peace!” Marchers at the end of the line called out “No justice, no peace!”
Back at headquarters, DPD Chief Jose Lopez Sr. said events like the march, which took place during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, keep sending the word we need to stop the violence. Working together, we may not be able to end violence in our lifetime, Lopez said, “but we could put a dent in it.”
Durham District Court Judge Marcia Morey said crime victims look to her for justice. She can’t give them justice, Morey said, but she can impose consequences.
“We have to do more,” Morey said, to address violence by contacting legislators, protesting and to “shout out that human safety is more sacred than any gun rights.”