Often it takes the combined voice of average everyday citizens marching and speaking out to get a vitally important message pounded into the brains of those it needs to be pounded into.
It is no secret that violent crime in Sullivan County has surged to uncontrollable levels. Gang violence, shootings, and even murder have become a way of life.
Tomorrow, Saturday May 12th, the message will be loud and clear as people from all walks of life gather to “Stop the Violence!” and “Stop the Hate!” in a peaceful march in Monticello, sponsored by “My Angel Foundation.”
Organizers Tishanna McCullough, Caridad Olmo, and Rashonda Williams know all too well about the pain that violence brings. All three lost their brothers to murder. They formed the “My Angel Foundation” as a resource for area youth. I an effort to get the “Stop the Violence” message out, they decided to hold the march.
“The Village of Monticello has had an outburst of violence. The Monticello Police have worked very hard to keep our community safe, but it is also time for our community to step in and take our streets back. We will do whatever it takes to make our voices heard and protect the children of the future. No child should have to grow up in a community that is plagued with gangs, drugs, and violence,” organizer Tishanna McCullough told me.
Discussing the “My Angel Foundation,” she added, “We are committed to helping our youth become positive and successful citizens of their communities. We promote education, abstinence from drugs and alcohol, positive alternatives to gang activity and prevention of gun violence. It is our intent to provide a fun, yet safe and structured environment where children are encouraged to learn, play, share thoughts, and cultivate talents”
District Attorney Jim Farrell told me he will be participating in the rally tomorrow to show his support as the community marches against violence.
“As District Attorney, I realize, first hand, the pain and trauma violence in the community has caused and I will continue to fight to protect everyone in our community. However, the police and my office cannot do it alone, we need the support, help and engagement of everyone.”
Farrell added, “The violence needs to stop and stop now, before another life is ruined or cut short. But rest assured, I will do everything in my power to make sure that those who engage in violence will be removed from the community so they cannot hurt others.”
Community activist and leader Sandra Oxford will also be taking an active role in the march. “The process of collectively healing our community requires us to confront violence together.”
The always outspoken Oxford added, “We live in a violent society. Violence comes in many forms, and violence knows no class, racial, economic or geographic boundaries. I admire the efforts of these family members to move beyond their own personal pain and loss to use their tragedy as a vehicle to uplift others.”
Without a doubt we must all promote nonviolent living. As Oxford puts it, “Building community rooted in trust, cooperation, and respect for all is possible. A voluntary movement that that leads to empowering people to live nonviolent lives, based on respecting and caring for ourselves and others is a fitting direction for all of us to march toward.”
The march to “Stop the Violence” will begin at 5 PM at DeHoyas Park in Monticello. Many guest speakers are expected. For further information call the “My Angel Foundation” at 845-798-7637.