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Anti-violence rally slated for Saturday in Palmetto

PALMETTO -- A coalition of churches has formed to combat violence in Palmetto in the wake of bloody shootings that took the lives of two and wounded 22 in September at a now-defunct nightclub.

A half-dozen local congregations are organizing a family-friendly “anti-violence” rally, slated for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Lincoln Park, according to Pastor Cory Brinson of the Spiritual House of Praise, 307 41st St. Blvd. E., Palmetto.

“For the most part, this is still due to recent violence we had at Club Elite,” he said.

“We’re pulling the citizens of the community together, so they can become more vigilant,” he said.

The churches also are working with the Palmetto Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in order to provide “a little more one-on-one” time with local residents, Brinson said.

The rally will feature music, dancing, a step team, face-painting, food and fun, said Brinson.

He noted it would be designed to offer youngsters a more wholesome alternative so they don’t have to hang out on the streets.

In addition to an invitation to Manatee County commissioners and Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant, Brinson said organizers also have reached out to the YMCA, State College of Florida, the fire department, and Manatee County Rural Health Services.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.