Some families in the Southeastern San Diego are worried gun violence will pick up as we enter summer, a trend they say comes year after year.
But rather than hide, residents are banding together to spread a positive message in hopes of making their community, which has a decades-old reputation for violence, a safer place to live.
Neighbors say they’re starting to see improvements thanks in part to people like Deacon Perry Owens Sr. and his niece Aerimique Glass Blake. The duo is teaming up to continue the reversal not just in their neighborhood, but all over the city of San Diego.
“We’re having too much shootings and as it heats up its going to get worse,” Owens said.
Owens knows what it’s like living in a rough neighborhood. His brother was shot on the corner of Euclid and Imperial avenues in Lincoln Park four years ago.
“He was just sitting here minding his business and an individual shot him four times,” Owens said. “Thank God that he made it.”
The intersection ahs long been referred to as the “four corners of death” because of crime and gang violence that has happened there. These days, Owens is doing his best to erase the stigma.
He calls the intersection “the four corners of love,” he said.
While crime in the neighborhood hasn’t disappeared, Owens does believe community efforts are paying off. His niece Aerimique Glass Blake is helping to bring residents, police, and multiple organizations together to clean things up.
“We really wanted to take this message to the street,” Glass Blake said.
And that’s what they did last week when they organized a march against gun violence.
“We’re bringing you know, gang members and policing together to have really hard conversations. We’re bringing individuals that don’t agree with, you know, what’s happening around policing and really believe in defunding the police, and we’re bringing people that are very much wanting more police in our communities together,” Glass Blake said.
She said the work is hard, but worth it.
“It’s not butterflies and roses, right, but I know that it can be done,” she said.
Glass Blake said the best way to bridge the gap is through simple communication.
“We may not agree on everything but I know that we agree on making sure that our community is safe, making sure our young people are safe,” she said.
Owens and Glass Blake said their group doesn’t have an official name yet, but they know what their goal is.
“We’re all we got, so come together, you guys. Love and peace in southeast,” Owens said.
Glass Blake said she’s planning more events over the next few weeks to bring people together against gun violence.