BILLINGS — About 30 Billings community members gathered for a vigil across South Park on S. 29th Street to heal together after a week of gun violence in Billings.
Four individuals were killed in just one week, those scenes stretching across Billings, hitting many too close to home.
“I would like our community to come together and grieve and remember the loss of our loved ones so that we can start to heal,” said Billings counselor, Lisa Matovich-Brooke on Sunday.
It’s why she and others, like social worker Angela Matta, organized the community vigil filled with song, prayer, and thoughts of frustration with the state of the city.
“We have never seen violence like this in Billings, Montana. It’s never been like this, it’s just been escalating more and more in the last year,” Matta said.
It’s a crime problem that many attending the vigil are already trying to fix. Catherine Card is the vice president of the South Side Neighborhood Task Force.
“It’s complex to solve it and it reflects a lot of the neglected areas in this town that we have forgotten and the neglected people,” said Card.
It’s why several attending the vigil have formed a group called the Community Collective for Peace. They plan to meet weekly in hopes of spurring change.
“That is just how we can promote change in the future for our community, we don’t want it to be one time thing where we do a vigil,” Matovich-Brooke said.
And many, like Billings resident Chad Martin, are hoping the vigil was just the first step of many in addressing the gun violence issue in Billings.
“Everyone here is wanting the best for the community and willing to contribute whatever they have to making the community a better place, and it starts, boy, right here with these people,” said Martin.
The next Community Collective for Peace meeting will be at noon on November 12 at Mazevo Coffee at 819 Grand Avenue.