Community uses activism, art to support Alvarez family and others impacted by gun violence

Briana Conner Image
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Community demands justice for children killed from gun violence
The community displayed unity in the face of tragedies with activism and art.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Monday night, people held signs demanding justice for other children who have become victims of gun violence in Houston in 2022. The gathering included the showing of a new mural at a local tire shop about a block from Arlene Alvarez's school honoring her life.

It's been two weeks since Arlene was shot and killed when she was on her way to dinner with her family in Gulfgate.

The man police say shot her has not been charged with murder and is out on bond. That's why Arlene's family is still demanding justice.

A ride for justice started at Market Square Park downtown. A group of more than 50 bikers made a trip to the eastside in honor of Arlene and demanded accountability in the shootings of Ashanti Grant, Darius Dugas, and Diamond Alvarez.

"It's the frequency of love because, without love, we wouldn't be coming together. If that love didn't exist for our children or our community, we wouldn't be coming together as one," said Diamond's aunt, Blanca Mejia.

The community displayed unity in the face of tragedies with activism and art. Jatziri Barron painted the mural honoring Arlene.

"It's a really beautiful feeling that my job is able to inspire and to unite all the community to show support and love to this family," Barron said.

David Leal organized Monday's bike ride that stopped in front of the mural. Leal is a longtime friend of Arlene's father, Armando Alvarez.

"I just felt it in my heart. It was something I needed to do. The Hispanic community doesn't have anyone speaking loud enough here in Houston," Leal said. "We keep things enclosed and bundled together. I'm trying to outreach to everyone and have our voice heard. We aren't going to let this die down."

"A lot of parents lose their momentum trying to get justice. We haven't lost it yet. That's why are going to keep moving and pushing for justice," said Armando.

"We're supporting each other. Diamond's mom, Ashanti's grandma, and all the moms reaching out to me. We are becoming a team because we want the laws to change. We are defending our babies," said Arlene's mother, Gwen Alvarez.

There will be a rally for justice at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center on Franklin Street on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. The goal is to "get loud" protest "bogus bonds."

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