Survivors and law enforcement walk side-by-side to bring peace to Lexington

Published: Apr. 13, 2019 at 11:54 PM EDT
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Survivors of violent crime and members of law enforcement walked side-by-side hoping to bring change to Lexington.

On Saturday, they held a peace walk at Duncan Park. It coincided with National Crime Victims' Rights Week and was held in memory of Antonio Franklin, Jr.

"People are just saying 'We're tired of it' and they just want to be a part of this movement to stop the violence and it's a good feeling," said Anita Franklin, the mother of Franklin, Jr.

The 21-year-old was fatally shot five years ago at the same park. The bullet was not intended for him. His mother has been holding walks ever since saying all are welcome.

"Anybody in this city that feels like they have something to say that might be a solution, why would we want to shut them out? It takes all of us to find the root causes and move forward," Franklin said.

Members of law enforcement, many volunteering their time, joined in a display of unity.

"That Anita, along with other parents, brothers, sisters, grandmothers who have lost loved ones and the rest of us joining arm in arm. We're not going to stop until we end the violence in Lexington," said Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt.

Many survivors shared their stories, some for the first time.

"You don't want that call. You don't want that call at all. And this is not a good club to belong to," said Jackie Shannon.

Shannon's grandson was gunned down outside the same park nearly two years ago.

They share a common message: if you see something, say something.

"If you see things and you don't report it, you don't feel it's your job, then you're just part of it," Franklin said.

By walking together, they are finding a way to bring healing out of tragedy.

"Although I'm sad in some ways today, my soul is happy," Franklin said. "I know that Antonio's ok and I know that his loss of life is healing many, many people."

There are plans for another peace walk in June.