Grandview and Sunnyside March Against Gangs - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Grandview and Sunnyside March Against Gangs

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SUNNYSIDE--Hundreds of people march to protest against gangs in their communities.  Groups marched from Sunnyside and Grandview to show gangs are not the only option.

These people are tired of living in fear.  They hope today's march shows kids that there's so much more than gangs.

Last month's shooting a block away from Grandview High School during a football game was the last straw for Courtney Durado.

"That's really sad that you can't just sit there and try to be involved and you're in danger."

Groups like Grandview United and Barrios Unidos got together and found out a lot of people feel the same way.

"They're tired of this destruction and feeling unsafe in their own community," Alex Santillanes said.

They think today's events can be a good first step to taking back their towns.

"These gangs think they own the communities, they own this, they own that," Juan Garcia said.  "They don't."

Juan Garcia's son and step-granddaughter were murdered three years ago by gang members.   He wants to help get kids away from the gang lifestyle.

"As communities, we need to get together and do something," Garcia said.  "This violence doesn't solve anything."

Today they are trying to focus on positive things.  The community brought in bands from the area who do not support the gang life.  Leaders say changing the local culture will take more than music.

"You have to take your own risks and try and make a change by your presence," Santillanes said.

Everyone involved knows it will not be easy, but they are sure it will be worth the effort.

"Everyone should  be able to walk the streets and feel like they're safe," Durado said. "[They should] feel like they can do whatever they want and not worry about other people on the street."