Santa Monica Procession, Vigil Tonight; Updated Route Information

Sunday, 16 Jun 2013, 9:32:00 AM

Mirror Staff

Candles are seen lit Tuesday morning outside the house on the corner of Yorkshire and Kansas in Santa Monica where Friday's shooting rampage began.
Photo by Brenton Garen
Candles are seen lit Tuesday morning outside the house on the corner of Yorkshire and Kansas in Santa Monica where Friday's shooting rampage began.

In response to a rash of shootings and the persistence of

gang related homicide in Santa Monica's Pico Neighborhood youth, parents, and

community leaders are holding a vigil and procession today to bring healing to

the community.

The June 7 shooting rampage that resulted in the death of

six residents was followed by two shooting incidents -- one Sunday afternoon and one Tuesday morning -- that left one dead and

two others with serious injuries.

Gil Verastegui's tragic death on Tuesday, June 11 marked the

49th time since 1989 a family has suffered a loss due to homicide in Santa

Monica, the majority of these homicides occurring within an eight block

"red zone" in the Pico Neighborhood.  

The Santa Monica Vigil for Peace & Healing will begin Sunday,

June 16 at 6 pm at the corner of Kansas and Yorkshire, the focal point for the Friday

shooting rampage that ended at Santa Monica College. 

Procession organizers plan to follow a route which will

memorialize the fallen and bring healing to the community.

Route Information:

-- Procession will start at the

corner of Kansas and Yorkshire. 

-- It will proceed south on

Stewart Street to Pico Boulevard, then proceed west on Pico.

-- First stop will be on 23rd

and Pico (Near Virginia Avenue Park lot). 

-- Second stop will be on 19th and Pico (Near Santa Monica College).

-- Continuing west on Pico we will go north on 17th Street to Michigan

Ave. 

-- It will go west on Michigan to 16th St. where vigil will end.

"Although we have reduced gang and youth violence in

recent years, the incidents of the past few days are a wake up call that our

City must not regress in its effort to address youth and gang violence,"

said SMMUSD Board of Education member Oscar de la Torre.

The Pico Youth & Family Center (PYFC) along with various

community groups have also called for a Townhall Meeting on Violence Prevention

scheduled for Thursday, June 20 at 6 pm to engage the community in a discussion

on proactive policy solutions to violence and trauma. 

"We invite residents, youth, clergy, parents and

community leaders from Santa Monica and beyond to support our movement for

peace, unity and social justice. We cannot let the tragic death of our

community members happen without a renewed commitment to building a safer

community," said Francisco Juarez, PYFC Board Member and Vietnam

Veteran. 

The Santa Monica Vigil for Peace and Healing is co-sponsored

by the Pico Youth & Family Center (PYFC), Saint Anne's Catholic Church,

Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE).

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