'We have to come together': Community gathers in Fresno's Chinatown to call for end to violence

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Community members came together in Chinatown Tuesday evening to acknowledge the pain of violence across the country and here in the Valley.

"We recognize the victims across the country, but when it came down to it, we realized right here in our own backyard, we have issues of violence," said community organizer Dr. Jean Kennedy.

The Raging Grannies activist organization led the group in songs promoting peace. The music was a symbol of unity as the country continues to see violent crimes against Asian Americans.

"We have been very disturbed by what is happening in the Asian community around the country," said Nancy Hatcher.

"I can't explain why there is so much racism in this world," said Morgan Doizaki, owner of Central Fish Co. "I thought we moved past this."

Candles were lit to remember the eight victims of the spa shootings in Atlanta and the ten victims of the grocery store shooting in Colorado.

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Those in attendance remembered those killed in senseless violence right here in the Valley. Street vendor Lorenzo Perez and mother of six True Vang are among the murders Fresno has seen just in the last month. 22 homicides so far this year puts the city on track to far exceed the number of murders in 2020.

"We have to come together," said Cheryl Sumler. "And that is my mission."

Cheryl lost her granddaughter Kayla Foster in 2017, just days before her high school graduation.

"And still today, the crime has risen. It has not let up at all," said Cheryl.

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She says getting ahead of violence will require deep investment into communities like southwest Fresno.

"We need more involvement in our community. More money. More jobs. More programs" said Cheryl.

Organizers of the vigil hope to return to Chinatown with more events to collaborate on community solutions for violence.
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