YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – To kick off Ohio Nonviolence Week, there was a drive-in parade at the Covelli Centre Sunday afternoon.
This is the tenth annual Nonviolence Parade and Rally, kicking off Ohio Nonviolence Week, hosted by Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.
“We take one week–student driven that we ask the community–hopefully soon the country–to focus on nonviolence,” said Penny Wells, Executive Director of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past.
This year’s setup looked slightly different because of COVID-19, but it didn’t stop people in the community from saying what was weighing heavy on their hearts.
“It gets very emotional, you know, teaching our youth and trying to show them the right way to go because you have that experience,” said Julius Oliver, 1st Ward City Councilman.
Oliver says the youth is our future, which is why events like these are needed.
“You know, you got to break into the system and you got to become a disrupter, you know. You can’t wait to become and adult to start making a change in the community or the county,” Oliver said.
CEO of the Youngstown City School District Justin Jennings was one of the guest speakers at the event, going in-depth about the violence in Youngstown and explaining that there are different acts of violence.
“Violence is not just a physical act toward somebody. It can be thoughts against somebody. Racism is something that’s violent,” Jennings said.
Pastor of Holy Trinity Baptist Church Lewis Macklin says that nonviolence starts with us by making better decisions.
“We can choose to engage in nonviolence. We can make a choice actively to participate and becoming a community that does not make violence such a narrative,” Lewis said. “And so we’re hoping that people will take the responsibility as Michael Jackson said. Look in the mirror and make a change.”