‘Peace rally’ set for Sunday

Published 10:38 pm Friday, July 19, 2013

One week after a not-guilty verdict in the much-watched trial of George Zimmerman, a local business owner and others are organizing an “Increase the Peace” rally in response to the verdict and a string of local shootings since December that have left six young people dead.

The rally will be held Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the White Marsh Plaza, 1226 White Marsh Road.

LaTroy Brinkley, owner of Serendipity Salon on West Washington Street, said he is helping organize the rally more because of the local events than because of the Zimmerman trial, in which the defendant, who identifies as a white Hispanic, shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a black teen. He has said he did it in self-defense.

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“Several of the young guys that have been murdered here lately, I knew them,” Brinkley said. “We need unity in the community. Time is overdue for it.”

The shootings started after Suffolk went homicide-free for most of 2012, save for a stabbing in July. Then they started — William Kendale Jordan on Dec. 17; Carlton Holland Jr. on Jan. 1; Antonio Carl Boone on March 5; Angelo Fleming Beale on March 24; Diana Yvette Jones on April 25; and Lloyd Randolph Green Sr. on June 29.

“There’s a lot going on in the community, and it’s time for it to stop,” Brinkley said. “We’re trying to make sense of everything that’s going on.”

Others who are helping organize the rally include Chop Shop Barbershop owner Rarsan Barnes, E.A. Tax Service owner Eurnika Artis, TCS Boyz, Companion Care Home Health owner Vesha Jones, and the Rev. Wallace Johnson.

Brinkley said he wants everyone, no matter who they are or where they’re from, to come to the event.

“We just want everybody to come out, as many people as possible,” Brinkley said. “It’s not just a Suffolk thing. I have people coming from Newport News, Hampton, Petersburg, all over Virginia and North Carolina to be a part of this event. It’s not just for black people. It’s for everybody.”

The rally is set to include the families of some of the recent homicide victims.

“They’re going to speak out against this senseless violence,” Brinkley said.

The organizers want everyone who attends to wear a plain white T-shirt in support of unity.

For more information, call 376-2888.