March to 'Stop the Violence' Set for Sunday

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The violence has to end. That's the message the godmother of a Cedar Rapids homicide victim plans to take to the streets, Sunday.

Twenty-year-old Sierrah Simmons and 22-year-old Quintrell Perkins were killed Wednesday night after someone shot into a home on the 1700 block of 4th Avenue Southeast. The deaths marked the fifth and sixth homicide in Cedar Rapids this year. Police are still looking for those responsible.

"I didn't believe it at first, because it is exactly what happened to my daughter. I went into shock," said Denia Davis, the godmother of Sierrah Simmons.

Last month Denia's daughter, 18-year-old Denisha Davis, was at a party in Iowa City when she was hit by a stray bullet, and paralyzed from the knees down.

Since then, Denisha has been recovering at the hospital. Her first outing since the shooting is fast approaching. Denia said it was supposed to be a chance to celebrate, but not now.

"Her first outing is going to be to her godsister's funeral," said Denia.

Fed up with all the heartbreak, Denia has partnered with others in Cedar Rapids who feel the same.

"Enough people have suffered. Enough children have suffered-- enough parents. The community has suffered enough," said Davena Johnson, a teacher at Franklin Middle School.

Along with a group called "Stop the Violence Movement! IA", these people plan to march Cedar Rapids streets with up to 500 others, Sunday. They'll carry posters of victims and wear wristbands of support. The hope is to end the violence by showing the community how many want change.

"I hope that message gets to some of these people that are out here with this nonsense. It's not just a game. You're messing with someone's life," said Monica Simpson.

It'll be a march with a lot of meaning. Denia said it'll also be the first step to returning Cedar Rapids to the town she used to know.

"This is a place that you could grow and get a good education and it's changing. I don't like it. We need to take it back," said Denia.

The march is set for Sunday at 5 p.m. Organizers are asking people who want to attend to meet at the lower pavilion at Bever Park. Everyone is welcome.
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