WASHINGTON — The caravan coursed through Southeast, bullhorns blaring, kids waving from car windows, and for several hours Friday evening, a city mourning the murder of an 11-year-old was forced to take notice.
It was an event billed as the Ward 8 Peace Rally Drive, a gathering aiming to support the work of the Metropolitan Police Department.
But organizers also hoped to pressure detectives to keep up investigative work and to simply do more, as families in Southeast felt the anguish of losing another child to gun violence.
“We applaud [MPD] for catching the guys in Day-Day's murder,” organizer Kevin Coleman said, referring to the arrest of two suspects in the heinous Fourth of July murder of sixth-grader Davon McNeal. “And we hope you catch the rest of them. But now we're putting the pressure on you, to catch all the rest of the murders of our children.”
Demonstrators drove from the landmark Big Chair in Anacostia to the Seventh District police station on Alabama Avenue. They blocked road access to the front of the station, but the families made it clear they were not protesting to defund or disband the police.
Quite the opposite.
“This is not to go against the police,” said organizer Sade Wright. “It is to bring justice for all of these juveniles under the age of 21 who are getting killed. We need the police to solve these crimes for all of us."
In the company of the caravan was Donetta Wilson, whose 10-year-old daughter, Makiyah, was killed in July 2018, going outside to an ice cream truck.
“We just have to keep having these events, to let people and police know that we’re not just going to accept our kids dying,” Wilson said. “It’s how I keep my daughter’s name alive, letting people know we need to end this senseless killing, to let our children blossom instead of wilt and die.”