COLUMBUS (WCMH) – After the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old girl over the weekend, mothers in the Capital City who have lost children to gun violence came together for a rally at the park where the girl and five others were shot.
The rally, held late Monday afternoon, was organized by the group Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children.
The group is hoping to spread two messages: That it is there for the family of Olivia Kurtz, the girl who died in the shooting, and that it is time for the violence in Columbus to stop.
A statement from the family read during the rally said Olivia always tried to break people out of their shells. The statement said she was an excellent student, a hard worker, a people person, and a kind soul.
Kurtz was one of six teenagers shot Saturday night during a gathering at the amphitheater in Bicentennial Park.
Many of the people at the rally are members of the group and know what it’s like to lose children to violence and don’t want any other families to have to go through it.
The group is gathered at Bicentennial Park for what it is calling a “community covering,” calling on city leaders, police, parents, and everyone else in the community to play their part in ending violence.
“It is important for the community to see the actual vicinity where their children are going, where their children are, and what could potentially happen if they’re not with their kids,” said Malissa Thomas St. Clair, organizer of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children. “This is a call to action to the community. It has a lot to do with partnership with city officials and law enforcement, but this is about what can we do as a community together.”
Jacqueline Casimire, a member of the Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children group, called for an already in-place curfew be enforced.
“Get your kids, you got to be accountable for them,” she said. “You got to know where they’re at, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with, and you have to make them responsible and you have to be responsible for them. There’s no reason why 15-year-old kids were in downtown Columbus at 11 o’clock at night at a party unaccompanied by adults.”