Youth March for Peace
Recent fatal shootings along with the one in Ferguson, Missouri prompted members of several Birmingham organizations to join with hundreds of young people to march for peace. The 1000 youth march and fun day really focused on the children. People met at Parker High School and marched to East Thomas Park to encourage peace. With each step came a purpose. Around each corner a message. Children of all ages, parents and role models, marched for peace. Erica Jackson marched with her son. "We can't assume that our children understand the importance of certain things and we don't show how important it is to them, so coming out here with him lets him know my mom is serious about it too." 25 organizations including The Strap Foundation, Magic City Youth and Parents Against Violence made a combined effort to educate children. Donald Shepherd has made it his mission to teach young people about the consequences on their decisions. "With things going on like in Ferguson, what happened at Columbine, although it has nothing to do with today, it's good we start teaching young people about the values of life." Tammy Gray lost both her husband and son to violence. She continues to support efforts like this. "We've got to stop saying what these kids are doing wrong and step in and help them do something." High school student Jamal Woods says children need mentors and someone to look up to and follow down the right path. "Stay out of trouble, say no to guns, no drugs, nothing like that, it will be good." Organizers hope to make the march an annual event and that at least 2,000 people will march next year.