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'No homicides for the holidays' | Organizers push for peace in December

These activists are calling for a region-wide ceasefire through the month of December. For many involved, the issue is personal.

WASHINGTON — Frustrated with the violence that has become all too common in recent years, a group of DMV activists is asking for peace for the holidays.

Organizer Kenneth Barnes Sr. knows the pain of losing a loved one firsthand.

In 2001, his son Kenneth Barnes Jr. was shot and killed on the corner of 11th St. & U St. NW, where he ran a clothing store.

The gunman opened fire inside his business, Barnes Sr. said.

"It was horrific," said Carmen Barnes, Barnes Jr.'s younger sister.

Her brother's death changed their family forever.

"You're not just taking his life...you're taking everybody's life around him," she said. "I mean -- just ruined."

While time has passed, Barnes Sr., says not enough things have changed.

"We're sitting here today 21 years later and the very same thing that was going on when my son was murdered, it's the same thing that was happening today," he said. "It's like we haven't learned anything in 20 years."

"Right now in this city... family members are afraid to death every time their child walks out the door," Barnes Sr. added.

Still, he hasn't given up. Barnes Sr. and other activists across the D.C. region have organized the "No Homicides for the Holidays" initiative, calling for a region-wide ceasefire through the month of December.

"Just for the holidays, don't kill anybody, don't fight, don't do anything," said Carmen Barnes.

The group hopes the initiative both provides some immediate relief and can kickstart a reduction in violence that snowballs into lasting change. 

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