Community & Arts

In the wake of gun violence, a march for peace on Smith Hill

“It’s hard to have the pride in this community, that I’ve had all my live, with this going on. I am upset. I am angry. I am disappointed and I’m heartbroken. We need to come back together as a community and tell everybody that we are not going to take it anymore.“ “In a few moments we’re going to walk
Photo for In the wake of gun violence, a march for peace on Smith Hill

Published on October 5, 2020
By Steve Ahlquist

It’s hard to have the pride in this community, that I’ve had all my live, with this going on. I am upset. I am angry. I am disappointed and I’m heartbroken. We need to come back together as a community and tell everybody that we are not going to take it anymore.


“In a few moments we’re going to walk down to the GI Joe’s, just about a block away, where one shooting occurred just the other night and we’re going to have a moment of silence,” said Providence City Councilmember Katherine Kerwin (Ward 12) to the crowd of over 50 Smith Hill residents coming together because of the escalating gun violence in their neighborhood. “These past few days, as our neighborhood has grappled with violence, we’ve been able to come together and think about how we want to respond to these shootings and how we want to respond to gun violence. And the overwhelming message from everyone on Smith Hill has been that for many, many months we’ve had a growing feeling and a sort of anxiety inducing feeling that something is going wrong.”

The shooting in front of the GI Joe’s Convenience Store on Thursday night was immediately followed by another shooting, this one fatal, about a half mile away at Douglas and Orms Street.

Members of the Smith Hill community gathered at the Joe P Hassett Park at the corner of Smith and Orms and chatted along the route. They were joined by past and present members of the City Council and State Senator Maryellen Goodwin (Democrat, District 1, Providence) who co-organized the event. Also present were representatives of the Nonviolence Institute.

Here is some video from the march, followed by a moment of silence:

“Our neighborhood is not really used to this, thankfully,” said Senator Goodwin. “We have been blessed with a safe neighborhood, a neighborhood that loves each other and comes together in good times and bad times.”

“I have been in this community for 60 years. I have never seen the mess that I see going on now,” said Miss Althea. “It’s hard to have the pride in this community, that I’ve had all my live, with this going on. I am upset. I am angry. I am disappointed and I’m heartbroken. We need to come back together as a community and tell everybody that we are not going to take it anymore.”

“This is our community,” said Diana Garlington, a leader against gun violence. “We have to stand up and be vigilant. Speak up. I know people are afraid of retaliation, but what are we going to do in order to stop this unnecessary violence?”

Councilmember Kerwin said that she, members of the neighborhood and Senator Goodwin will be walking the neighborhood several times a week in the coming weeks and months.

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