Following a week of three homicides in the Halifax Regional Municipality, hundreds of people took to the street with the message: the violence has to stop.
“We have to start speaking up, and stand up, and make a change together,” said Quentrel Provo, organizer of Stop the Violence (Spread the Love).
The march started on Novalea Drive at Duffus Street at about 4 p.m., then continued on Gottingen Street, ending at Grand Parade where several speakers, including Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, addressed the crowd.
Provo said he’s a distant cousin of Daverico Downey, who was found dead outside in North Preston on Saturday.
“There are always people who are in the know, people who are very close to the young men who are involved in these type of activities, and if they can have any sway or pull or influence on them, then they can get them to stop,” said Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais, who participated in the event.
In the morning, the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church held a special service in response to the violence.
Several in attendance knew the victims, noting that Nova Scotia’s black community is tight-knit.
“We want our city to understand that this is loss to all of us, and so we hope that the entire city will join with us in mourning these losses and seeking to address violence,” said Rhonda Britton, the church’s reverend.
Josh Ryan, 18, who attended the service with his family, said it’s important for young people to have support not just at home.
“We need teachers showing the students this is not the way to go, right? You just need guidance all around, everywhere you go. You need people to set a good example for young people, right?” he said.