On a York City street corner, little girls clapped and stomped, their ponytails of brown, black, red and blond hair bouncing with the rhythm of their chants.
A few dozen cheerleaders from Lincoln Charter School made the sidewalk their stage Thursday. Parents coached dance moves and snapped photos while a woman in a wide-brimmed hat, who'd invited all of them to the intersection of West Princess and West streets, mingled with the crowd.
York City Councilwoman Joanne Borders kept her message brief but direct. This community belongs to all of us, Borders told a woman who spoke Spanish to her cheerleader daughter.
"If we don't stand up, people will take it from us," Borders said before moving on to the next parent.
"We were sitting back and saying, 'Oh my, another shooting,'" Borders said. "We can't keep saying 'Oh my.' We need to come together."
The meetings have become a forum for people to talk about issues and possible solutions. What started as anti-violence activism has morphed into plans for community gardens, support groups and a program to protect children on their way to and from school.
Thursday's meeting was the first held outdoors, drawing looks from neighbors and the attention of local media.
For obvious reasons, the weather has a lot to do with the change in setting, Borders said. But the street corner really is the most appropriate place for a message of taking back the streets, she said.
"I like action. I don't like just going to meetings," she said. "We just want to be visible."
Unless otherwise announced, the meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at Lincoln Charter School, 559 W. King St.
- Reach Erin James at 505-5439 or email@example.com or on Twitter @ydcity.