Anita Franklin, the mother of Antonio Franklin, has joined forces with Lexington police Sgt. Rahsaan Berry's "We Care" initiative to help combat the recent rash of violence in the city.
Berry and Franklin were joined Thursday by Mayor Jim Gray, city officials and religious leaders at Duncan Park to announce, for July and August, four "We Care Peace Walks," to start and end at the park.
The announcement came just days after the city recorded its 11th homicide of 2014 and a few feet away from where Antonio was fatally wounded in April.
Anita Franklin started "Tony's Dream: The Antonio Franklin Jr. Project, Let's Get Better and Do It Together."
"Our main mission is to rebuild, restore our community," she said. "We've got to take back our community. Our children need us."
Of the four marches, the first will be geared toward the community, the second will focus on children, the third will be for community and city leaders, and the final march, Berry and Franklin said, will seek to attract the entire community.
"We care at the (Lexington) Division of Police," Berry said. "This what these peace walks are about; it's togetherness. It's unity, showing that we can make a difference in our community."
The peace walks are an extension of "We Care: Our Community, Our Future," an umbrella initiative that began last summer to fight gun violence and empower the community, after a series of shootings in the city's west end. The initiative is moving into the east end of town.
Gray said he hopes that the initiative will help "find the resolve of community to work on those problems."
"I don't think anyone has the illusion that change occurs overnight," he said. "But what we do have is the conviction that we can work together in a spirit of unity. In a spirit of acknowledging these issues, and we can then make, over time, improvements."
Justin Madden: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.