About 50 people rallied against violence Sunday evening during a gathering in Castlewood Park that was prompted in part by a string of shootings in October that wounded or killed 11 people over nine days.
"We've got to take our sons back; we've got to take our daughters back," minister Tony Wilson told the audience. "Who's going to fight for our kids if we don't fight for them?"
Organizing the event with Wilson was minister Ed Allen and Tonya Reed, the sister of Vincent Miles, who was found shot to death on Elm Tree Lane on Oct. 11.
"This is more than about stopping the violence," Reed said before the rally began.
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It also was about promoting healing, good behavior, professionalism and respect, and to let people know that one decision can alter a person's life path, she said.
Wilson told those in attendance that he hoped the rally would plant a seed.
"We're fighting the fight, but we've got to fight together," he said.
Reed said she had hoped that about 300 people would attend Sunday's event, but the low attendance won't stop her group from sponsoring similar gatherings in the future. Another rally is being organized for April, and she would like to see one held quarterly.
The organizers have sought out various organizations to participate in the effort, including a single mothers program and charitable entities, such as Volunteers of America.
Wilson said building relationships, not just offering programs, is needed. The adage that it takes a village to raise a child does not adequately describe what is needed in Lexington, he said.
"It takes a city now," he said, adding that the mayor, the city council and the entire community must get more involved.
Sunday's rally included talks by Matt Tackett, a deacon at Mount Olivet Baptist Church and the director of a church addiction ministry, and Bari Lee Mattingly, pediatric trauma nurse coordinator for UK HealthCare.
Miles' cousin, Eleanor Clay, entertained the audience with a praise dance.
"Even if I only help one person, I've honored what I was going to do," Reed said.