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Residents march against violence Sunday afternoon

NATCHEZ — Between 30 and 50 locals protested recent violent acts and shooting incidents — some of which resulted in the deaths of their loved ones — as they marched along Martin Luther King Jr. Street on Sunday afternoon from Minor Street to the Zipy gas station on the corner of MLK and High streets.

“Stop the violence — no more silence,” they chanted as they marched, some holding signs and passing around a megaphone. “We shut it down. … Increase peace. … Save our children. … Love is the key. No justice no peace.”

Event co-organizer Barney Schoby Jr. said he and Chantel Marsaw, founder of “It Still Takes a Village” (to raise a child), have been planning the march for months.

“We’re trying to increase community awareness and give children a chance to make a difference,” Schoby said, “to give children a chance to do what is right by showing them something different — something positive.”

Mary Beamon, who stood among those marching Sunday, said she lost two of her grandsons to violent shootings, Bobby Butler, 24, and Darrell Butler, 20.

“It put me in some kind of depression, but I came out of it and thank God I did,” Beamon said before singing. “I’ve been through the valley, but you were with me — and sure enough, Lord I know you were with me. I gave up and he said, ‘I’m not ready for you yet.’”

Deputies of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office also marched and showed their support. Sheriff Travis Patten said the victims’ families are not the only ones who grieve because of violence.

“We in law enforcement — our hearts just bleed every time we see one of your loved ones laying on the street,” Patten said. “We grieve just as you do. We pray just as you do. … This is just as much a spiritual battle as it is a physical battle.”

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