MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group marched through north Minneapolis Sunday afternoon, calling for an end to violence in the city.

Marchers stopped to pray at intersections along a route where people were recently killed. March organizer Lisa Clemons, the director of A Mother’s Love initiative, intentionally began the march in the parking lot of Estes Funeral Chapel, near the intersection of North Penn and Plymouth avenues.

“Estes, Washburn-McReavy and Brooks Funeral Home in St. Paul get as many of our Black and Brown bodies as the prison system gets,” Clemons said.

She felt compelled to gather for 7-year-old Blaze.

“He is one of the main reasons that we need to do this march,” Clemons said.

Five days ago, Blaze and his father, Steele Vaulters, were shot at in a drive-by shooting outside a supermarket on Lowry Avenue North. Blaze was struck in the foot, but Vaulters was not injured.

As Vaulters pushed Blaze along the route, he held a sign reading, ”Why did you shoot me? I’m only 7 years old.”

“Luckily he’s OK though, but I know that it was, you know, scary for both of us,” Vaulters said.

He says the trauma of the shooting has lasting damage on his son, especially during the fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend.

“He was just kind of jumping at every sound, you know,” Vaulters said.

They marched for Blaze, but also all victims of gun violence in the Twin Cities, with names and pictures of many on the signs they carried. Marchers of all ages were out to take a stand.

But one thing Clemons wants to make clear is that despite all the recent violence, she does not think the Minneapolis Police Department should be abolished. Instead, she wants to see collaboration with community and law enforcement.

“If you just listen to the city council, you would think that we’re all at odds with the police. That’s just not true,” she said. “In order for us to change, make change we have to work together as a people. Whether it be with the police, whether it be with Black Lives Matter.”

Marielle Mohs

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