About one hundred people on Mission Street yelled “Stop the violence!” last Saturday at noon in a march organized by the faith committee of the Mission Peace Collaborative. A Christian ministry called Victory Outreach gathered on 24th Street Bart Plaza to rally and share their experiences on how Jesus Christ has impacted their lives.
Victory Outreach is an organization that started in the United States and has expanded to over 600 churches and ministries worldwide.
Mission District native Pastor Troy Valenzuela shared his experience as a Norteño gang member selling PCP drugs on the corner of 24th and Hampshire Streets. “People can change,” he said.
Yvette Hernandez also shared her experience selling drugs on the very same corner she stood on 24th and Mission Streets. She was known as “Flaca,” selling drugs and getting caught up in violence since the age of 12. “I was down for the Barrio, instead I was down with my self-esteem,” she said.
The march continued down 24th Street, ending at Potrero Avenue.