Group will dance for peace in north Mpls. todayby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Organizers of a group dance event in north Minneapolis Saturday afternoon say they're trying to encourage more people to work for peace in their communities.
Community Power Against Violence is made up of a few dozen young people and adults. Beki Saito is one of the adult organizers of this afternoon's mass dance. She says in addition to doing the Electric Slide and the Cha-Cha, young people will record video messages about peace and violence.
Saito says some members of the group have experienced violence firsthand.
"We've had actually, a couple of people in our own group who've been shot or shot at," Saito said. "So they're the ones sort of firsthand saying, 'We need a multiple layer approach.'"
Saito said the goal is to send a message that the majority of people who live in north Minneapolis are peaceful.
"What we're trying to get people to do is meet new people, celebrate peacemaking and then -- the first phase is to sort of inundate the north side with this message of peace 24-7," she said. "We have wristbands. We have bumper stickers. We have lawn signs."
The dance will be held in the parking lot of the YMCA on West Broadway Avenue.
More than half of the city's 33 homicides so far this year have occurred on the north side. However, like the rest of the city, total violent crime on the north side is lower than it was at this time two years ago.