A Journey That Started With a Single Step

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: September 23, 2012

The weather couldn’t chill the warms hearts of those that came out on Friday evening to participate in the Community Peace Walk in Michigan City. The walk was organized by 24-year-old Michigan City resident James Vance as an answer to the recent acts of violence involving the youth of Michigan City. Several shootings have happened in recent weeks thus resulting in the deaths of multiple teenagers from Michigan City.Vance was tired of the violence that seemed to be more and more frequent as time passed.

Before the walk began Vance addressed the crowd and thanked them for coming. The La Porte Community Federal Credit Union had set up a booth for walkers to come and sign a roster and make donations to a memorial fund for the family of 16-year-old Isiah Wright, a Michigan City High School student who was shot and killed during one of the recent shootings.

Tightus Iyez of the East Chicago Christian rap group G’s Infintree then spoke to the crowd and offered to pray with them. La Porte County Commissioner Willie Milsap, who helped organize the walk was in attendance and he firmly believed in what the walk represented.

“When I was approached by James Vance I felt the same way that he felt, which is why I got involved. My staff has made numerous signs to be carried during the walk. I fully support it and I think as a community I feel we need to support it,” said Milsap.

The walk began at Eastport Elementary School at 5:30pm and was lead by Michigan City Police Chief Mark Swistek. People came wearing homemade t shirts in honor of lost loved ones, and hand drawn signs with messages against gun violence. The route taken was laid out among the streets of Michigan City and it lead participants back to Eastport Elementary School around 6pm.

The Mayor of Michigan City Ron Meer was at the Community Peace Walk as well.

“These are tragic events that have occurred in Michigan City,” said Meer of the recent shootings. “It’s great to see that the people are coming together tonight in support against violence. And that’s a great thing, but it’s the follow through that people in our community are going to have to continue to do and step up. We have have a mentality in portions of the community that needs to change. Unless we do something unorthodox and change, we’ll be just like any other community that is plagued with these types of things. The good news is that I’m seeing a lot of people  step forward that have never stepped forward before so the follow through after tonight will be very important.”

The Mayor had a good point. The Community Peace Walk was a success with over 300 people participating in the actual walk and over 4,000 people finding out and "Liking" it on Facebook. There’s power in numbers, folks, so this is a step in the right direction.

To find out more about the Community Peace Walk, visit the Facebook page!

Click here to view more photos from the event!!


Photos taken by Richard Warner of Visual Impressions Photography.