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Rally targets violent crime

SELMA — William Jackson came from Uniontown to tend a horse-drawn carriage with a casket on the back with pictures representing those lost to violent crimes.

He was one of about 50 people gathered at Songs of Selma Park on Saturday for a Stop the Violence rally.

“We have to wake kids up and help kids understand not to be killing each other over nothing,” Jackson said. “We can’t over it until we learn how to live. We have to help kids understand life is beautiful.”

The carriage came down Broad Street, turned left onto Water Avenue and stopped near the park before the speeches began.

“Stop the Violence is an awakening rally to bring attention to not only Selma, but to individuals that have been victims in the violence,” Rosetta Bowen, one of the founders of Stop the Violence, said.

Bowen said the rally is a spin from the Safe Haven Center, which aids young men with drug problems and parole violations.

Several speakers, including Mayor George Evans, Judge Bob Armstrong and state representative Yusuf Salaam, addressed the crowd condemning violence and praising the activists.

“When the question is asked of me ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ my answer will be a resounding ‘Yes’,” Salaam said. “Uncontrolled violence is victimizing our community.”

The message was clear with every speaker: There is a problem, but there is also hope.

Some cried out for assistance, others pointed fingers and some, like Armstrong, used statistics.

“The last five years juvenile crime is down 67 percent, so we’re winning,” Armstrong said. “Things like this make a big difference. It’s like rain drops in a bucket. One by itself isn’t much, but when you put them together, it makes a big difference.”

While on speaker told of the need for the streets to be overflowing with people, Salaam said as long as even one person turned up, the rally was worth it.

“It’s important, even if it’s just one person,” Salaam said. “It doesn’t take a million people to address this problem.”