It’s not often that you see judges and county commissioners leading the way through some of Harrisburg’s most dangerous streets. But Wednesday some did just that.
Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Scott A. Evans decided instead of holding the annual ‘Wellness Walk’ for county employees they would do things a little different this year. “Not only do we individually need to get in better shape, but the city needs to get ‘well’ too,” said Evans. “I believe we can send a message: we care. This is our city. These lives are not invisible, dismissed or forgotten.”
Walkers also included local victim advocates and families of eight homicide victims. The families of Courtney Jackson (age 20), Robert Diggs Jr. (age 25), Terrell T. Vaughan (age 27), John C. Washington III (age 22), Robert Burris (age 20), Jose Vazquez (age 60), Davion Walker (age 21), and Matthew Dyson (age 30).
The group started at the state’s Probation and Parole Harrisburg Office at 1130 Herr St., Harrisburg. They walked through Allison Hill, in the city of Harrisburg. They stopped at the locations where the victims had lost their lives.
“Just taking a walk and stopping at these places that I consider sacred ground, where these individuals have so violently lost their lives,” said Jennifer Storm, President of the Victim Assistance Witness Program. “These are places where people did die so tragically.”
“Today is really allowing us to put real faces real locations where violent crime has occurred. And hopefully to send a clear message that there is other alternatives and we need to be working with engaging the community to change the focus and the mentality,” said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III, who also took part in the walk. “For me I don’t know how you can govern and not be connected with the people you actually draw your power and authority from. It’s really important to be out here on the streets and engaging people.”
“In other cities that have hosted marches against violence, police have reported an increase in crime tips and arrests immediately following the walk,” said Evans. “Too many young lives have been lost to gunfire. We need to work toward a year without murders, drugs and gunfire. That’s our end game.”