York walk to be symbol of hope for troubled area

YORK -- A crowd will gather Saturday at Wooded Valley Park on Galilean Road to walk and talk.

They'll walk because last month a teen from that neighborhood died in a gang-related shooting.

They'll talk because they don't want it to happen again.

On the Scene for Jesus Outreach Ministry Team in York is hosting the event in hopes of uniting divided communities. The group will begin the walk at Wooded Valley Park around 11 a.m., followed by a ceremony in the park at noon where people will have a chance to talk about whatever they want, organizers said. They're asking the entire community to participate.

"We need to let these kids know that we love them and we're here for them," said Madelene Williams, an evangelist with the ministry team.

Williams knew Dawud Chester, who was killed in the shooting on California Street on Sept. 11. She hopes this event will help prevent another tragedy.

It's time for churches and other members of the community to stand up and show youth there are people they can turn to, she said.

"If you have the heart for the people and a heart for the children, you've got to come," she said.

Chance at a new beginning

The goal, however, needs to be more than just a reaction to the shooting, she said.

"We want this to mark a beginning," Williams said.

Many of the youth aren't looking for trouble; they just need direction, she said.

"They got to know there's purpose, because they're just running around in the streets," she said.

Brenda Robinson, who also lives in the Valley, said when she heard about the walk she was happy to offer support.

"Anything I could do," Robinson said. "I was willing to help just to bring this city together."

It's going to take unity to solve the problems facing York communities, she said. She hopes people will come out to show they're willing to take the first step.

For details about the walk, call Williams at (803) 526-3800.