PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Following a string of shootings, including one early Friday morning, people are getting together to hold what they call a “peace walk.”

With four people shot in July, members of the community are trying to send a message.

Taking one step at a time to lower violence, Pastor Clara Forman is gathering the community to raise awareness about gun violence and hope for a better tomorrow.

“We want to call for peace right here because we need it, we want to bring the community together. We have lost the lives of so many young people, and we need to come together to do what we can do to be able to combat these shootings and crimes that are going on,” said Forman.

This subject hits home for Forman, as she lost two children to gun violence: her son Reginald in 2002, and her son Desmond in 2015.

“Whatever I can do to help somebody else to be able to navigate through this journey because it’s going to be a journey, it gets better, but we never get over it. So that’s why I’m so invested in this,” said Forman.

Other organizations in Peoria are glad people are raising their voices and fighting back against violence.

“Having people who care about the situation, even if it’s not on their front doorstep, but that they are trying to do something proactively and in a positive manner, gives us hope to keep going,” said CEO of Peoria Community Against Violence Becky Rossman.

With homicides increasing in the last week, Rossman hopes people understand how dire the crime issue is.

“Everyone in this community needs to be combatting violence because it’s such a prevalent issue in Peoria. We were on the 15 deadliest cities in 2019, and we had a 40% increase in 2021, so it is just important that everyone rallies around our community,” said Rossman.

Starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 23, people are welcome to join at the old Aldi at 210 South Western Avenue in Peoria for the walk.