Activists host rally to curb violence

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Nearly a month after California police officers shot and killed 22-year-old Stephon Clark after mistakenly thinking he had a gun, many local activists are now speaking out and calling for a stop to the gun violence.

"Anything that deals with gun violence has to be tackled and dealt with,” said high school senior Daebreon Leach.

Rockford Youth Activism along with dozens of community advocates came together to remember Stephon Clark and many others in our own community who have been victims of gun violence, like high school senior Daebreon Leach.

"When I was ten I was shot in the leg here in Rockford, so gun violence to me is like close to my heart,” said Leach.

Leach was just one of many people that spoke or read poems about gun violence and police brutality that's been happening all across the country.

"It's just sad that it's going on and cases are still pending when we can easily get justice. We just came together to shed a light to all of it because we want to put an end to all of it and we just want peace and unity and treat each other like human beings,” said event organizer Starr Davison.

Many at the event say although gun violence is a nation-wide issue, we should be working to stop the violence happening in our own neighborhoods.

"You hear about violence everywhere and I feel like people know that police brutality is something that needs to be conquered but we have to start with little steps. Let's conquer the violence that happens here in Rockford,” said Leach.

Organizers say they hope the community will continue the conversation to stop the violence. As a survivor, Leach hopes to keep shedding light on the issue with the hopes of preventing someone from being the next victim.

"Come out, help do stuff to actually make these people want to stop the violence because some of the violence here is unnecessary."