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Community gathers to put an end to gun violence

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MADISON(WKOW) -- Many in Madison are calling for change after the shooting of 11-year-old Anisa Scott and a summer full of gun violence.

Madison police say there were 29 shots fired cases in June the most in one month at the time.

But it got worse in July, with 44.

This year, there have already been 143 cases, an 88-percent increase over the first half of last year.

With a Unity Walk at Penn Park Sunday, organizers hoped to bring the community together to start a dialogue about what they need to improve the underlying issues that have led to gun violence in recent months.

The event was organized by the DSS Community Center, a group dedicated to helping young people improve in school.

There were multiple speakers, from community leaders to the Original Black Panthers of Madison, to talk about voting and ending division within and outside of the African American community of Madison.

The unity walk itself was a silent, peaceful walk around Park Street and back to Penn Park.

Organizer Felicia Anderson said she hopes this event can create a tighter knit community.

"We need to bring back love and respect in the community. We need to bring back compassion in the community. But most importantly, our community needs economic wealth," she said.

This event went on with the backdrop of Anisa Scott's death earlier in the week as the unintended target in a shooting.

Anderson said enough is enough.

"We believe that black lives should matter to black people the same way that we expect them to matter to the white people," she said. "In order for us to prevent gun violence in our community we need to hear from the people who are mostly affected by the gun violence."

City Council President Sheri Carter was at the event and said she was encouraged with how many families and young people there were.

She says that's where the message needs to start.

"What we have to do as a community is really get the word out and tell people that we are, not only ask them to put put down the guns, but we are here to help you with resources and support," she said.

After the walk they put on a question and answer period to get specific responses from community members about what could be done to improve their situation and end gun violence.

Anderson said they plan on taking those responses to build a strategic plan, and bring them to city leaders and raise funds to make those changes happen.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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