SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) --Marching to the San Bernardino Civic Center on Thursday, members of Inland Congregations United for Change hoped to stop the violence in their city.
So far this year, 34 people have been murdered in San Bernardino. City leaders joined concerned community members for a candlelight vigil.
"Forgiveness is what helps to begin that healing process. It helps us to overcome anger and hate," San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis said.
Before marching to City Hall, the group marched to school district headquarters.
"When you sit there and you're talking to a kid one day and the next day he's been shot and killed, it makes you motivated," said Ray Culberson, director of youth services at San Bernardino City Unified School District.
Two weeks ago, Officer Gabe Garcia was shot and critically wounded by a gunman with an assault rifle. San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said Officer Garcia is regaining consciousness after being in a coma since August 22. He added reducing violence involves more than just the police.
"We play a very vital role in every society, but it's almost impossible for us to have enough of an influence over the lives of every a young person when everything they're surrounded by is bad. It takes people like yourself." Burguan said.
Standing before the crowd was a mother whose two daughters have been murdered. Melanie Mietswas was killed during a drive by shooting in 2005. Her sister Michelle was murdered in July.
"We want to create that pathway to help. We want to end the suffering. We want to bring healing to our people," family friend Karla Elizarraraz said.
City leaders said they'll work with clergy and community groups in hopes of reducing violent crime and sparing more families from tragedy.