“Stop the Violence” block party held in South Bend

Published: Aug. 13, 2022 at 11:51 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The Fremont Youth Foundation is holding its annual “Stop the Violence” block party at Fremont Park.

Starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, families were “partying for a purpose” to raise awareness for gun violence and show the kids how communities can display peace, love, and unity.

“I know that a lot of kids, they make bad choices or make the wrong choice because they feel like they have nothing else to choose from, and when we’re out here, and we’re pushing nothing but peace, love, unity, education and having fun, and just loving on them, and giving them all these resources, then they learn that there are other things to do and they don’t have to choose bad choices,” said Kim Clowers, president of the Fremont Youth Foundation.

The Fremont Youth Foundation started holding block parties at Fremont Park in 2014, following the shooting death of 18-year-old Cornell Taylor.

“We wanted to come together and bring a different type of vibe, a different type of energy to the park,” said Blu Casey, founder of the Fremont Youth Foundation. “This park was notorious for youth gang violence and neighborhood gang violence, all that type of stuff, so we wanted to change that and make it something positive, something to be passed down to the youth as peace, love, unity, and having fun.

Block Party attendees were treated to a free meal, school supplies sponsored by State Farm, and a variety of fun activities.

“This is a community event to help the kids get ready for school to make sure they have the equipment they need,” said South Bend resident Kathye Waters. “I brought my grandkids here for the fun and the school supplies.”

South Bend 1st District Councilman Canneth Lee lives in the neighborhood and wants to remind folks that violence is a learned behavior.

“What we have to do is treat it before it happens and teach them positive things, like memories of the community coming together, having a good time, eating hot dogs and chips and drinks, and face painting,” said Pastor Lee. “We have to give kids these kinds of memories so that they’ll know as they get older that this is what community is, and violence isn’t.”

A local mom who used to go to this park when she was a kid brought her daughter to the block party to score some school supplies and hopefully create new memories.

“She’s having a ball,” said South Bend Resident Brianna Johnson. “She’s over with her brother. She’s got her face painted, she just got done riding the bull, and when we pulled up, she was like, oh my gosh, this is going to be the best day ever. So yeah, she’s having a ball.

Fremont Youth Foundation and the local community raised all the funds for the event, so attending the event was completely free.

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