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“It was just an idea, and now — it’s a movement:” Organizers bring back “Heal the Hood” event

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It's an event that normally happens just once a year, but organizers felt their neighborhood needed more. The area surrounding 24th and Keefe in Milwaukee has seen its share of violence this summer, but a local effort to heal is gaining support.

Gladys McGee's home has been hit by stray bullets.

"I thank God no one else got hurt in the house," McGee said.

On Sunday, police sirens were replaced with the sounds of music, as neighbors came outside to gather together and have some family-friendly fun. It was all a part of the "Heal the Hood" summer block party -- meant to inform, engage and heal the community.

"This is wonderful what they are doing today. I do truly thank God and I hope that he brings unity to the block," McGee said.

"It was just an idea three years ago and now it's a movement," Milwaukee Alderwoman Milele Coggs said.

It is an end-of-summer party where folks look to make the kind of positive noise that can drown out violence.

"Actually, right on this corner here, there were like two shootings in the past week or so. It just goes to show it's necessary," Heal the Hood organizer Ajamou Butler said.

Originally an annual gathering, organizers didn't want to wait another year to bring the event back to the neighborhood.

"This is culture. This is art and this is healing at it's finest. I'm glad to be out here again. We just gave away about 300 school supplies," Butler said.

Tesnim Shoemaker was on hand to capture the event -- taking pictures not because it's so unique, but because she says there's more good happening in this neighborhood than people think.

"People don't understand there are a lot of beautiful things that happen. We can't be identified by our murder rate," Shoemaker said.

Heal the Hood is just one example of the positive work happening on Milwaukee's north side, as music, art and resources for families lined the block on West Keefe Avenue Sunday.

"Really the community coming out and showing its support for the movement, which is Heal the Hood," Butler said.

It's a movement that continues to gain momentum despite the violence.

CLICK HERE to visit a website established for the Heal the Hood effort.

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