Lexington community remembers gun violence victims through annual peace walk

It was on the swings at Duncan Park that Antonio Franklin, Junior lost his life in a shooting incident in April 2014.
Peace Walk

LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ)- The Lexington community came together Saturday to remember lives lost due to gun violence in the city.

It was on the swings at Duncan Park that Antonio Franklin, Junior lost his life in a shooting incident in April 2014. Every year since his death, the family brings the community to remember the countless lives lost in gun violence incidents in the city through the Antonio Franklin Jr. Violence Intervention Project Peace Walk.

Hundreds turned out to march through the starts in Lexington to remember those lives.

“It shows that there’s a community that cares and wants to see gun violence and all acts of violence coming to an end,” said Ricardo Franklin, the brother of Antonio. “When you have people who care and commit to it, its a start. Its not the solution, but its a start. That’s all we can be thankful for.”

Ricardo’s mother Anita began the walk in the days following Franklin’s death. Sadly, she passed away in 2020.

But Ricardo says the walk isn’t just about his family, but the other families who have also suffered.

Kenya Ballard lost four members of her family to gun violence. She says she wouldn’t wish the pain on anyone else.

“Knowing that some of the people I’m looking out at have also lost family members, they’ve lost daughters, they’ve lost sons, they’ve lost nieces and nephews, I don’t want people to be apart of this group,” Ballard said.

The event also featured guest speakers, songs, prayers, and a lot of fun for kids. It’s that group that organizers say can be the change in helping prevent gun violence.

“When you bring community leaders and bring a community that cares about such a cause like that, then its a start,” said Franklin. “And that’s all we can ask for. You get a start like that, it can build to something great. And I think once you can really dig deep- especially with the kids. They’re the next generation up, you place this focus with them and they know, they spread, its limitless.”

Other families have cases that are still unsolved. Rachel Kelm’s message is that if you see something, say something..

“To speak up and if you know something that’s going on that’s not right with gun violence, you know, speak up and help one of the families here that are hurting,” said Kelm.


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