Marchers Unite to Make a Difference in Cedar Rapids

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Dozens of people marched to "Stop the Violence" in Cedar Rapids.

People met at Bever park and marched several blocks together.

This follows the homicide that killed two people Wednesday on the city's southeast side.

Police found the bodies of Quintrell Perkins, 22, and Sierrah Simmons, 20, Wednesday inside a home at 1708 4th Avenue SE. Police have not announced any arrests in the killings.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Cedar Rapids police.

Neighbors and community members wanted to make it clear that this violence will not be tolerated.

Most who took part shared a sad but similar story of grief after losing a friend or loved one in an act of violence. Participants want last week's homicides to be the last in Cedar Rapids.

It's a scene you don't often see in Bever Park, strangers holding hands and strangers praying together.

"It's got to stop. There's no option," said Monica Simpson with Stop the Violence Movement! IA.

They're all united in a belief things can change.

"We need to take 319 back and take Cedar Rapids back," said Sierrah's Godmother Denia Davis.

Davis is Sierrah's Godmother, one of the victims of last week's homicide.

She's among those leading the way to make a difference in the community. Not far behind, dozens of others are taking steps in the same direction.

"Every little bit helps, but shutting up ain't never helping nothing. You know what I mean? So, we out here raising our voice about it because it's senseless. It's absolutely senseless," said Participant Michael Cosby.

The crowd marched straight to the home where Sierrah and Quintrell died. They had a moment of silence and plenty of moments filled with emotion.

It's a march that organizers say must go on for victims of violence, for Quintrell and for Sierrah.

"I think Sierra is looking down at me like 'you go girl'. She is telling me, 'you go girl'," Davis said.

Organizers said they plan to hold a march every month from here on out.

Sunday night Sierra's mother, Sharre Simmons, also contacted KCRG with a statement she wanted to share:

"Considering all of the media coverage regarding the double homicide which happened on April 2nd, 2014, I find it imperative to share with our community that my daughter Sierrah Simmons and Quintrell Perkins were nothing but innocent victims of a senseless tragedy, which occurred on the southeast side of Cedar Rapids. I cannot stress enough that an innocent gathering with friends could end with such a horrible loss to me, my family and also Quintrell's, (my heart and prayers are with you.) I would never want any other parent, sibling, friend or loved one to have to endure the suffering me and my family have had to go through – my life will be forever changed. I pray we all stop the violence within our community and find it our hearts not to allow our anger, pain, suffering and loss to have a negative impact on others.

I am a selfless individual who would only want the best for everyone within our community. I am very thankful for all of the support each and every one of you have given to my daughter Sierrah through Facebook, phone calls, cards, music, prayers, stop the violence march as well as an upcoming candlelight vigil. I am emotionally and physically exhausted by this tragedy and at this time I wish to have a private time with my family to grieve. I will always rely on my higher power to find justice for my daughter. In loving memory of Sierrah Simmons, I love you always. You were a victim of a senseless crime."

Love mom,
Sharre Simmons"
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