Over two hundred organizations, elected officials, human service agencies, professionals, activists, youth, cultural and grassroots organizations participated in A March for Peace and Call to Action: Promoting Justice and Healing to Reduce Family and Community Violence and Excessive Use of Police Violence on Saturday, September 26, 2015.
The group congregated early Saturday at 8:00 a.m., from the Demetrious Johnson Foundation, 724 N. Union Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63115. A rally was held from 8:00-8:30 a.m., and following it there was a march through several portions of the neighborhood.
"What should be the framework for reducing violence committed against children adolescents and adults in homes, schools, neighborhoods and by law enforcement?" asked Khatib Waheed, Event Co-Organizer. "I believe that four critical parts to the framework should focus on being more: trauma informed to raise awareness and broaden efforts toward addressing the ill-effects of trauma and toxic stress on child, family and community well-being; family focused on the early identification of risk and protective factors that contribute to or help prevent family and community violence; committed to strengthening neighbor-hoods through economic revitalization and the restoration of public trust in our law enforcement agencies and schools; and racially equitable to ensure that the achievement of good and bad outcomes for children, families and neighborhoods throughout the St. Louis Region are no longer predictable by race or ethnicity.”
Immediately following the rally and march three consecutive educational panels were convened:
9:45 – 11:15 am - Update and focus on the newly established Civilian Oversight Board (COB);
11:15 – 12:45 pm - Addressing the Effects of trauma and toxic stress on children, families and communities; and
12:45 pm – 2:00 pm - Increasing Child Safety and Reducing Violence
Reportedly, over 146 murders had occurred across the St. Louis metropolitan area since the beginning of 2015. The peace march brought together people to express their commitment to promote peace and stop the spread of violence in the home, community and by the police. The goal of the March to Promote Peace and symposium is threefold:
To demonstrate community support to families and loved ones who have lost someone to violence, a victim of violence or someone who has witnessed violence;
Share information about efforts underway to address concerns related to violence committed in the home, community and by the police and invite concerned citizens to get involved in efforts to reduce violence, and
Improve life in the community and change how systems respond to needs of people of color.
The St. Louis Public Schools, Gateway YMCA -O’Fallon Community Developing Organization Inc., Places for People, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, St. Louis Initiative for Reduce Violence (SIRV), State Representative Kim Gardner, D-77th District and Khatib Waheed LLC co-sponsored the event.