Police officers stood in intersections to keep traffic at bay Saturday as about 75 people took a peace march through the neighborhood surrounding Lexington's Duncan Park.
Last July, there were 200 marchers; police cars blocked every intersection and volunteers manned water stations along the route. Several dozen came out for a march in June, and there's another scheduled for August.
Mayor Jim Gray came Saturday, along with several members of the Urban County Council. Sgt. Rahsaan Berry, who helped organize Saturday's event, said he hoped the march and upcoming events will show that the city's parks are safe in the wake of recent violence.
Brenda Shanks, 62, arrived with her mother, Stella Taylor, who is 90. The smaller crowds don't mean people don't care, she said. People are getting involved more intimately through their own churches or groups. Her church, she said, had a conference on violence and citizens' rights. The Kentucky Justice Coalition and Stop the Violence Lexington have organized a community-wide walk for July 18.
Never miss a local story.
Lexington police and the Georgetown Street Neighborhood Association are sponsoring church services and free movies on Thursdays at Douglass Park, across town. In one incident in June, four people were shot there and Kwame El-Amin was killed. El-Amin was Lexington's 10th homicide this year. No arrests have been made.
Despite the ongoing violence, lots of people, Shanks said, are doing their part to "make the world a better place." Her contribution Saturday was a soulful a cappella rendition of We've Come This Far By Faith that echoed across nearby basketball courts.
Chef Love Talley, who brought barbecue and fixings for 200 to 300 people, was moved to do something after hearing the story of Anita Franklin, who has helped organized the Duncan Park peace walks. Her son, Antonio, was shot and killed in the park in 2014.
Talley shut down his business Saturday to supervise the buffet line, tend the grill and pass out drinks.
"This just hit home," Talley said. He hasn't lost someone close to him to violence, he said. But his mother, Mary Elizabeth, died a few years ago, so he knows loss.
"When the community hurts," said Talley, who has lived in Lexington since 1990, "I hurt."
For Glynis Jones, Saturday's march was a public reprieve from her private grief. Her son, Jerome "Trouble" Jones, was shot to death in Florida in 2008 shortly after he'd graduated from the University of Kentucky. Police at the time reported drugs were involved.
She said her nephew, Dwayne "Man Man" Johnson, was killed during an argument over a dice game.
Jones, 58, wore a shirt with their pictures on it and had a poster with their names pinned to her back.
She said she attends such events whenever she can. She keeps the sign and shirt in her car.
Next week she'll grieve alone again. She'll visit Jerome's grave and sing Happy Birthday. She'll let a balloon go, like she does every year, thinking to herself: "Maybe, baby, this one will get to you."