If you see residents and cops marching through downtown Delray on Saturday, here’s why

Residents and Delray Beach Police officers march in the 2nd annual Walk Against Violence. (Courtesy of Prentice Mobley)

Residents and Delray Beach Police officers march in the 2nd annual Walk Against Violence. (Courtesy of Prentice Mobley)

DELRAY BEACH — Community members, police and city leaders will march shoulder to shoulder through downtown Delray Beach on Saturday morning in a stand against violence.

“The overall message is unity,” said Prentice Mobley, a recreation supervisor in Delray Beach and coordinator of the 3rd annual Walk Against Violence. The 1-mile walk, open to the public, is expected to draw more than 250 people.

The blend of law enforcement officers and residents will walk from the city’s community center, on Northwest 1st Avenue just north of Atlantic Avenue, to Pompey Park, on Northwest 2nd Street about two blocks north of Atlantic.

The group will be led by a pipes and drum band and walkers will hold signs about peace, Mobley said.

At Pompey Park, there will be a “unity assembly,” including food, activities and speeches about peace and the Delray Beach community.

“This is about all of us coming together, police and community,” he said. “We all have only one true mission: To have a safe community.”

Mobley proposed the event three years ago after a string of retaliatory shootings linked to a longtime family feud in the city, he said.

“What happens in this city really affects me,” said Mobley, a lifelong Delray resident. “Someone had to step up to bring the community together.”

Although there have still been a handful of shootings in the years following the inaugural walk, Mobley said he notices changes in the community.

The walk sparks comfortable dialogue between officers and residents.

“Then people are more comfortable coming forward when violence does happen,” he said.

The Walk Against Violence begins at 9 a.m. at the Delray Beach Community Center, at 50 NW 1st Avenue. The march will shut down traffic on Atlantic Avenue, in a rolling road closure, briefly on Saturday, according to city officials.