COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus area organizations, families, youth advocates, and state leaders gathered in the Linden area Wednesday to push for an end to youth violence after a string of shootings involving children as young as 13.
Hundreds of people came out to support the call to action and the message was clear: stop the violence.
“The goal is to actually save some kids, right, like if we have the kids understand that we’re all one united front and then we’re all together that, you know, in the long run, we got to save some lives,” H.O.P.E Fitness Academy owner Derick Alexander said.
There were tables with resources, speakers and a march organized by the Legacy Youth Academy, among many other organizations.
“We also had a pledge here today where all the youth had to sign that they would never use a gun in school or use it for ill will,” Ubuntu Leadership Institute Youth and Engagement Leader Carter Robinson said.
He said more than 1,000 children have signed the pledge.
“It takes a community, it takes education, and we’re all trying to build our legacies,” Robinson said. “And our legacy is determined by how many people we help.”
“It just shows that people, at this point, are tired, and enough has been enough, and we’ve lost too many young people to gun violence,” Rep. Ismail Mohamed (D-Columbus) said.
The message among most at the event was the same: the violence has to stop.
“I would recommend strongly to them that, you know, hey, there’s opportunities out there, there are resources out there, you have an opportunity to change course,” Mohamed said.
“I think it starts with the parents, you know, I mean, I think, you know, that the parents can see that we have to bond together and focus on the kids first and kids’ education and everything else that they’ll see that the violence will stop,” Alexander said.
Some organizers at the rally hope it will become an annual event and be larger next year.