Motorcyclists will make a Run for Peace in Camden

Kimberly Hill, who proposed the event, outside Camden City Hall with some of the other ride participants.
Kimberly Hill, who proposed the event, outside Camden City Hall with some of the other ride participants.
Posted: October 29, 2010

Kimberly Hill was already fed up with the violence she saw every day in Camden.

Then, in September, a pregnant 18-year-old was charged with killing a 16-year-old girl during an argument over a boy.

"It just hit a nerve," said Hill, 40, who lived in Camden briefly as a teenager and who bought her mother's North Camden home two years ago. "People these days just don't think. They just react."

For Hill, the stabbing was a turning point.

An avid motorcyclist, she had ridden in the Midnight Run for Peace in Philadelphia, a motorized stand against violence in high-crime areas, since it started in 2007. She decided to try to bring a similar event to Camden.

She reached out to the Midnight Run for Peace Committee and local motorcycle clubs, and, hoping for police support, approached a friend on the Camden force.

In the end, police and Camden officials and the peace committee all supported the cause.

Escorted by Camden officers, the first Ride for Peace rally went through the north side of the city on Oct. 22, stopping in two police districts. The second ride will wind through the south side on Friday, stopping in the other two police districts.

"There are people who care about what's going on in the city of Camden, who care about people losing their lives," said Eddie Davis, president and founder of the Brothaz United Sport Bike Club, one of about 10 South Jersey clubs cohosting the event.

Camden has consistently had among the nation's highest crime rates. This year, homicides have been on the rise.

There have been 38 killings in the city to date, according to figures from the Camden County Prosecutor's Office; the most recent was on Tuesday night. In 2009, there were 35 homicides, the Prosecutor's Office said.

Riders will meet around 6 p.m. at City Hall and leave from there around 7 p.m. The ride is open to the public.

It will stop at Haddon and Kaighn Avenues in Parkside; Whitman Avenue and Louis Street in Whitman Park; Seventh and Sycamore Streets; Ninth Street and Ferry Avenue at the Ferry Avenue library branch in Centerville; and Yorkship Square in Fairview.

At each location, clergy members will pray for peace with residents and riders, said Detective Peter Rogers of the Community Relations Unit, who has known Hill since high school and who took her idea to his superiors.

The ride is modeled after the Philadelphia Midnight Run, held at least once a month from May to September. Those events draw 100 to 200 riders and others in cars and trucks, said Kraig A. Morgan, a cofounder of the run.

The idea was born when Morgan and others saw that public figures walked Philadelphia streets during the day, calling for peace, but that no one made the same stand at night.

In August, the midnight run expanded to Wilmington, Morgan said.

Hill has worked as a youth advocate and psychiatric nurse. She is studying for a master's degree in nursing through an online program offered by Temple University.

She has seen how violence destroys the lives of young people, and she has seen violence affect her life.

A half-sister, Robin Battie, 45, was killed by a stray bullet in 2005 in Camden when a man fired into a crowd.

"Violence is not normal and it's not acceptable," said Hill, whose riding name is "Brown." "It's senseless."


Contact staff writer Darran Simon at 856-779-3829 or dsimon@phillynews.com.

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