Community comes together for Peace and Nonviolence Festival

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – This Labor Day, a lot of people are planning to come together with family and friends, maybe firing up the grill, to enjoy this long holiday weekend. At Buffalo’s Martin Luther King Jr. park, people are gathering to do all that – for a good cause.

The WNY Coalition of Peace and Nonviolence Advocates, including Stop The Violence Coalition, the WNY Peace Center, the SSJ Sr. Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence, and more than 80 groups supporting peace and justice have set up shop in the park to try to bring an end to violence in all forms.

“I think what we try to do is let people in the community know that we’re here as a group of nonviolence organizations in all forms and all facets of life, whether it’s domestic abuse or gun violence, or child or elder abuse, there are organizations out here that are committed to helping those individuals who are suffering those consequences,” said Paul McQuillen, co-chair of the WNY Coalition of Peace and Nonviolence Coalition, as well as the Upstate Coordinator for New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

That mission to bring more peace to Buffalo is especially meaningful now, when we’ve seen a spike in gun violence locally. Six people were shot and killed in Buffalo just last week.

So this Labor Day, as local residents come together to enjoy a Peace Walk, free cookout and children’s activities, not to mention the opportunity to hear from speakers and learn more about opportunities to connect, the message from the people behind this event is clear:

“Peace. Stop the violence. Stop the violence,” said Willie Green, Sergeant At Arms for the Stop the Violence Coalition. “What parent wakes up in the morning and says ‘I want to go and bury my child?’ What child wants their parent to go through this? A lot of these kids don’t see the aftermath. We have one in jail and one dead. You know, that’s not even eye for an eye. Because the parents, the kids, the grandparents, the uncles the friends, we cry.”

This Peace and Nonviolence Festival continues at the Martin Luther King park through 5:30 Monday evening. The Peace Walk to End Violence begins at 12:30 p.m.

All of the day’s events are free and open to everyone.

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