A walk to end violence in Holyoke - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

A walk to end violence in Holyoke

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Dozens of community members took to the streets of Holyoke on Tuesday to walk against the violence that has plagued their city since July.

Maritza Martinez of Holyoke says she walked to "unify as one community to stop the violence."

City Councilor Jossie Valentin says it's been eye opening to see Holyoke go more than a year and a half without a homicide to seeing three in just eight weeks.

"And so I think the fact that it's not just the frequency but the closeness of the events is what really has us really concerned," she said.

So Valentin stepped up. Together, with two other city councilors, Gladys Lebron-Martinez and Anthony Soto, Valentin created a Facebook page calling for residents to stand together and walk on Tuesday.

"I want a better future for my grandson and I'm also afraid for our youth and I'm afraid for those that are involved in violence," Maritza Martinez said.

Residents mirrored Martinez' comment, hoping for a better future for all children in the community. Their voices were heard throughout downtown, calling for "One Holyoke," and to "Stop the shooting."

Valentin says the city is working to end the violence, but everyone must work together.

"Continuous collaboration with the Holyoke police department, the neighborhood watch meetings, every ward in the city has one and it's all about information sharing and keeping the community safe and we all have to do it at the same time," Valentin said.

Walkers on Tuesday say more events like this one will create change.

"If we stand as one and we have others engaged together with us I think we stand a better chance," Martinez said.

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