WE ARE THE CHANGE Rally Against Violence November 21, 2016 at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

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By: Briana Persley

In October, Mrs. Turner, PLD Lamplighter advisor, was approached by students who most recently were affected by the death of loved ones, due to violence in our community. They wanted to hold an annual event for peace and unity in Lexington. If you know Wendy Turner, she was going to give her students a voice.

She knew I was a Crime Victims’ Advocate at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and asked for me to sit in on a meeting and review some correspondence she had with other department heads at PLD.  I was amazed at the maturity of the teens that were developing this rally.

nnnThey expressed how they may not always feel comfortable with going to teachers, parents, and other adults to talk about their problems, and would turn to “the streets” for help. That is where a resource fair came into play. Teens need to know what agencies are out there that they can go to for the help they need.

 

I had the honor of being asked to assist with helping bring together agencies that are geared towards educating teens and arranging speakers to send powerful messages. We had over 20 booths set up, some were even teen lead clubs at PLD!

 

parkInside the auditorium, students heard from Anita Franklin, who lost her son, Antonio Franklin, to gun violence, in April 2014 at Duncan Park.

 

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Gerald “Geo” Gibson, spoke to them about serving time in prison for drug and gun offenses before changing his life and creating O.M.A.C. (Opportunity Making A Change), a mentoring program that focuses on teaching boys in elementary and middle schools respect and self-confidence.

 

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Sergeant Day, with Fayette County Public School’s Law Enforcement Division, spoke about S.T.O.P. (Safety Tiplein, Online Prevention) on the school’s website and how they can report things anonymously. Sergeant Berry, with the Lexington Police Department, spoke about Text-A-Tip, that is available to report crimes anonymously.  All speakers had strong messages of empowerment for the audience and how they can be effective in changing our community.

 

I was happy to represent our office during this event and hope to do the same next year!

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