Unity Walk to show support of
community, benefit Moran, Elizalde families

April 16, 2014
Santa Paula News

A Unity Walk to show support for the community and the families of two recently slain women will be held Thursday, a joint effort of the Santa Paula Police Officers Association and the Santa Paula Ministerial Association.

The Holy Thursday Walk will start at the Santa Paula Police Memorial, located on East Santa Barbara Street just west of the historic Depot, at 6 p.m. 

According to SPPD Sgt. Jimmy Fogata, who helped organize the event, walkers will talk the Bike Path to 8th Street and travel to East Main Street. From East Main walkers will stroll to Mill Street and on to Veterans Park.

“There will be a candle lighting ceremony,” at Veterans Park and brief prayers offered by the clergy for the short gathering.

Fogata said donations will also be welcome for the families of Norma Elizalde, the 39-year-old mother of two killed by a stray bullet after gunfire erupted outside her High Street home and Ashley Moran, a pregnant 21-year-old, who was found stabbed and beaten to death at Obregon Park. 

Fogata said Citizens Patrol, SPPD Explorers and Reserve Officers would also be taking part in and providing traffic control for the Unity Walk.

“There has been an outpouring of support and resolve from everyone throughout the city” in response to the two recent homicides, and said Fogata, “We wanted to have an answer when residents are asking us: what can I do to help?” 

“With Easter approaching, the message of ‘love thy neighbor’ seems very appropriate for our city,” said Deacon Al Guilin. 

The Rev. Jenny Crosswhite said, “It’s not until people get out of their buildings, their homes, their work, and come together in the public square and say ‘enough is enough’ that things will begin to change.”

Elizalde and Moran were killed last month two weeks apart. Their deaths brought the number of homicides in the city since May 2013 to eight, the same number of murders experienced in Santa Paula over a nine-year-period, from 2003 to 2012.

While its focus is on community, concern and respect for neighbors and families throughout Santa Paula, the Unity Walk will also provide an opportunity for those interested to offer donations to benefit the victims’ families. Donations can be made through the Santa Paula Police Officers Association via checks made payable to the Human Progress Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit.

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