Tomorrow, Thursday, April 30th, marks six months since 26 year-old Christopher Walker was killed in a gang-related murder in front of the Fair Oaks Burger in Altadena. Neighborhood Church has rented a stage, lights, and sound system to hold an event there at 7 p.m. – to show that the community cares about this tragedy, and to learn how we can help young people reach their potential. You get more information and RSVP HERE. Some major news outlets have confirmed coverage, including the LA Times and NBC.
It was Christopher’s mother Ursula’s idea to make it a walk so it could be even more visible to the community. It’s only a three-block walk, but it will be an event to remember for Altadena and Pasadena. No such peace walk for gun/gang tragedy has taken place since 1995 when a ten-year-old boy was killed by errant gunfire at the corner of Lincoln Ave. and Altadena Dr. Both the Clergy Community Coalition and Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, both predominantly African American clergy groups, have endorsed A Walk For Christopher, and plan to attend. Pasadena Police Chief Sanchez has also confirmed his attendance.
T-shirts silk-screened by Homeboy Industries will be on sale for $10, and all proceeds will be returned to Homeboy. Our church volunteers will be handing out a pamphlet that lists sixteen different ways ordinary people can volunteer their time, talent, and treasure to serve at-risk youth in our community. In the era of “Black Lives Matter” it’s time to expand that vision to the lives lost via gang affiliation, which claims 3,000 – 5,000 lives per year. Violence stops in a community when the community says it stops. Neighborhood Church is providing that loud-speaker, that voice, so that the parents of Christopher, community leaders, and clergy leader Pastor Jean Burch can speak. Youth and others will provide inspiring entertainment.
This is also a memorial to honor the trajectory Christopher’s life was taking at the time of his death. Christopher had turned his life around – he was an inspiration to his old gang buddies to do the same. Through this witness and call to action, a community inspired to serve at-risk youth will, in Ursula’s words, “give Christopher’s hushed voice a chance to speak.”
See you tomorrow!
-Rev. Hannah Petrie