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The Bridge Project aims to unite Milwaukee against violence

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- After a violent week in Milwaukee, several organizations gathered together Saturday morning, April 12th, to help put an end to the violence before the change of season.

Community members marched across the Father James E. Groppi Unity Bridge, a viaduct known for its historic freedom marches and considered a symbolic divide for the city.

"I think that this is a way for a new generation of people to pay tribute to our past and all look forward to the future with a brand new message," said Katie Polace, director of the Holton Youth and Family Center.

After the march, the group worked to spread the message of The Bridge Project campaign.

"The reason things maybe happen in our community is maybe because we are disconnected and we need to build bridges," said Polace. "All year around that we need to build bridges and make Milwaukee a safe place."

Several people including city leaders, long-time Milwaukee residents and faith-based leaders spoke out in the hopes to putting an end to the violence.

"I think all these attempts and all these actions can help. We have to change the fundamental dynamics, that we don't solve problems by resorting to violence, but that is a message that has to be delivered over and over again," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "I talked about hope, I talked about opportunity, I talked about prayer, purpose and education and if you put those letters together, you spell hope."

Many in the community are working to spread the message in the hopes of making it effective.

"If they don't bring it back tot he community, then it's all for naught. We hope everybody play a part and becomes a branch to this tree that we are trying to build," said youth advisor Derrick Shoates.

The Bridge Project is encouraging others to build bridges in their own communities. CLICK HERE for more information or to make a contribution.