The Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement kicked off its third annual march in Greenville and spanned more than two miles to Lincoln Park to bring awareness to the plague of gun violence.
We interviewed several of the hundreds of participants before and during the march, including former Ward B Councilman Chris Gadsden, who said that the march is about uniting everyone in Jersey City.
“The message, as it has been for the last three years, is unity. Unity in the community by bringing all groups of people together to address the number one issue, especially affecting the South Side, is the violence. Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement is at the forefront against the plague of violence inside of Jersey City,” Gadsden said.
Tina Harvey, a Greenville resident who works at the Jersey City Medical Center, said she has witnessed shootings in her neighborhood.
“I’m a lifelong Greenville resident, and I’m participating this year because the violence that’s happening in our community affects everyone. I live in a very high crime area where there is a lot of shootings. In fact, I not only hear gunshots but I have witnessed shootings in broad daylight and have rescued residents who have been shot by guns.”
Michael Griffin, also of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement, helped to organize this year’s march.
“This year’s message is building on the progress we’ve made to make sure that we’re united more than ever. This march is more than just about anti-violence, it’s also about social injustices,” said Griffin.
We asked Griffin how effective the organization can be in preventing violence, particularly gun violence, in the community.
“In working with the Jersey City Police Department, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office and the Prosecutor’s Office [we want] to ensure that they understand that community policing is important, that it’s not just about frisking and questioning people, but it’s also about talking and engaging with people and understanding how people get by in their communities,” Griffin said.
“You can’t criminalize everyone because they live in a bad area.”
Additionally, Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson also emphasized the need for bringing everyone together to speak out against gun violence.
“It’s always important for us to understand that Jersey City as a whole needs to be united. It’s not just about individual wards, but it needs to be one city moving forward,” stated Robinson.
The entire rally, which lasted for over an hour and streamed live on our Facebook page, can be seen below: