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Anti-violence vigil held in York City

Christopher Dornblaser
717-505-5436/@YDDornblaser

Yorkers came out to York City Friday night for an anti-violence candlelight vigil.

York city anti-violence activists, spread their message through a candlelight vigil Friday, March 4, 2016, at Continental Square. Amanda J. Cain photo

The event, created by York City's "Stop the violence" group, kicked off at 6 p.m. Friday at Continental Square, at the intersection of West Market  and North George streets, with only a handful of people in attendance. Within minutes, a few more people showed up, they lit candles, got in a circle, and said a prayer. About 16 people participated.

The event: The event was to raise awareness of the violence in the city. A spate of shootings in December — nearly a dozen in as many days — and sustained and continuous gun violence has prompted officials this past week to unveil an anonymous tip line.

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Jerald Proctor, of York City, came, despite the cold, to show his support. Proctor was bundled in a jacket, covering his face with the collar.

Proctor lead the attendees in a prayer while they stood in a circle, with candles in hand.

Kelli Jacobs, of York City, said the event was a good way to promote positive energy.

"I'm spiritual, prayer is powerful," she said.

York City Councilman Michael Helfrich also made an appearance at the event, joining the circle in prayer. He said the events, such as the vigil, are important to people.

"It lets the people know that there are others that care," he said.

Ariel Arrieta, left, Guadalupe Rosete, D.J. Honda and Lettice Brown bow their heads for prayer, during the Stop The Violence candlelight vigil Friday, March 4, 2016, at Continental Square. Amanda J. Cain photo

Yorkers march again to stop violence

What's next: Lettice Brown, of York City, is a member of the stop the violence group. The group has held anti-violence marches in the city, most recently on Jan. 18, just a few days after 18-year-old Shyhiem McDowell was found unresponsive in the backyard of 325 Girard Ave. with a gunshot wound to the head.

While the turnout wasn't as robust as they hoped, Brown was happy some braved the cold to show up.

"I am so happy for the people that did come," she said. "Old man winter has clobbered us again."

She said they planned the event for Friday hoping getting the message out to people during First Friday.

Brown is hopeful they will plan another event, perhaps during the First Friday event in April.

Lettice Brown, shields her candle from the wind, during the Stop The Violence candlelight vigil Friday, March 4, 2016, at Continental Square. Amanda J. Cain photo

"The way I see it is, violence doesn't stop when it's cold, so why should we stop?" she said.

For information on upcoming events, check out the group's Facebook page.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com