Youth Advocates Against Gun Violence will hold a march and rally on Saturday, April 9 all in the name of peace. The event was organized by Lindsay Dwire ‘16, Asha Talib ‘16 and Colleen Wagoner '16 as part of their Senior Capstone Project.
"We wanted the community to get involved and help raise more awareness about gun violence," said Dwire.
Wagoner added, "We want everyone to be a part of the action."
"The girls have empathy for victims who don't have many outlets for support available, but they also wanted to implement seeds of hope by speaking to children about resolving issues without violence, and they also wanted to reach out to teens and other young people to show them that together they can stand together and make the change," reflected the group's mentor, Dayton Police Officer Danielle Cash.
The group's event, called Push for Peace, was something Talib said she knew she wanted to take part in for a long time.
"I was planning on doing this topic for my Senior Capstone Project for about two years," Talib explained. "There was an incident that I witnessed on my own street and it had a big influence on me taking action."
The group said they gathered information about gun violence mostly through interviews with leaders in the community, including members of the Dayton Public Schools' Board of Education, Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence, and the Dayton Police Department.
"We talked with Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl about the police aspect of shootings and gun violence," shared Wagoner. "What struck me was he took everything personally and didn't just give us statistics."
"As a police officer, I've observed firsthand what gun violence can do to people and their families," added Cash. "That's why this topic is so important. From my experience, I know it's going to have to take people to make lifestyle and thought process changes. The only way we can make that happen is with education and by making a stand."
The Push for Peace event will begin at 10 a.m. with pre-registered high school students gathering at CJ for a prayer and opening remarks. The group will then walk down South Ludlow Street towards Courthouse Square for a public community rally that will begin at 11 a.m. The rally will feature a spoken word poetry performance, testimonies from victims of gun violence and the opportunity to meet with anti-violence organizations from the Dayton area.
"The community rally will have people from all generations," Talib noted. "But it starts with the youth, we are the future."
Dwire agreed, "We would like younger students to continue the Youth Advocates Against Gun Violence movement to help make progress in our community."
Posted March 31, 2016