Features — 10 April 2015 — by Albert J. Ciego
The BLACK Parade: march for peace and crime reduction

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Apr. 6, 2015–A massive crowd of about 2,500 people marched in Belize City in solidarity with police, in a demonstration against crimes and violence that was dubbed “BLACK” — Be Loving And Cease Killing, which is an initiative of the Not in My City anti-crimes campaign.

The aims of the 6-mile march through the high-crime areas of the city were to denounce crime and violence, to foster harmony between the police and the community in their fight against crime, to encourage young men to stop the senseless killing of each other in the streets, to bring various communities together, and to encourage people to be peaceful with each other so that residents of Belize City can feel safe.

The demonstration started at about 7:30 Friday morning from the Yarborough area and made its way through several streets in high-crime areas, including Jump Street or Wagner Lane, Pink’s Alley, George Street, and Mayflower Street, among many other hot spots and crime-ridden areas. The procession stopped at spots where criminal gangs are known to hang out, and participants engaged in moments of silence and reflection to remember those who lost their lives due to senseless violence, and a pastor said words of healing in their memory. Individuals in these areas were also urged to denounce violence.

The procession also passed the Lord Ridge Cemetery, where the parade stopped momentarily in remembrance of those who were victims of violence.

During the march, a sound system played uplifting music that called for peace and love, and denounced violence.

The march concluded at the Battlefield Park on Albert Street, where an anti-violence rally was held, during which artists entertained the crowd with songs of peace, love and anti-violence.

Deputy Commander of Police’s Eastern Division, Edward Broaster, said that under the BLACK Program many initiatives will be launched to encourage the creation of music and other art forms that denounce violence and promote peace, and artists who do so in a notable way will be awarded.

Broaster said that BLACK will be a sustained campaign and will be pushed until the desired results are achieved.

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