The non-profit group Louisville United Against Violence (LUAV), formerly Hands Across Louisville, is sponsoring an event that aims to promote unity and advocate for an end to gun violence in West Louisville September 30.
The event is scheduled to open with an interfaith prayer service at St. Augustine Church, 1310 W. Broadway. A hand-holding chain, the centerpiece of the event, will take place at 4 p.m. Survivors of gun violence and family members of victims will speak during the event. Music and performances are also planned.
Rosemary Smith, a member of Epiphany Church who serves as the LUAV’s secretary, said the Sept. 30 event is a “way to put your money where your mouth is.”
“We all talk about the violence in the city and we all wish we could do something about it. This gives us one day to show that we care about our brothers and sisters across the city, East End, West End, South End, wherever violence is happening,” said Smith.
Parishes and organizations, such as Boy and Girl Scouts, are invited to sponsor a block for the hand-holding chain, said Smith who has been involved in the effort since the beginning. About 20 people fill a city block, but parishes and other groups are welcome to send at least 10 people, said Smith.
Though not required, groups are encouraged to prepare songs or prayers to recite or sing as they hold hands. Parishes and groups are asked to sign up for a block by Sept. 20.
This is the third event of its kind and the first under the new name of the organization, whose members include parishioners of St. Martin de Porres, St. Augustine, St. Martin of Tours and Epiphany churches and the Cathedral of the Assumption.
During its first event, about 250 people held hands on a windy, rainy day. In 2017, 500 people came out under the bright sun.
Smith said she’d be happy if that many people participated again this year. The Ursuline Sisters of Louisville and a handful of parishes have signed up so far and she is reaching out to the Catholic high schools, she said.
The mission of LUAV, said Smith, is to bring neighborhoods together, at least for a day, to oppose crime and violence. LUAV members intend to inspire others through service during the remainder of the year.
The group chooses a service-oriented activity to take part in each month, Smith noted. Recently, members of the group wrote letters to the Louisville Metro Alcoholic Beverage Control department opposing the sale of alcohol in a west Louisville store.
LUAV invites individuals from other parishes and groups, whether Catholic or not, to join, said Smith.
For more information on LUAV and how to sponsor a block, contact Rosemary Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.