About 6 months ago, one of my friends from college contacted me wanted to discuss an upcoming event idea he had. It was a "Stop The Violence" rally he was working on with his church in Caroline, one of Fredericksburg's neighboring towns. As he went on to break down the concept and the statistics, the situations he explored made it apparent violence was becoming rampant in a place it didn't belong. There are senseless killings in every community. You don't have to live in the city to experience city crime and violence. Something about his cause felt distinctly different than some of the causes I've supported in the past, the violence felt like it was at my doorstep. As time went by and he continued to organize the event, certain happenings in the community made it resonate as to why the cause was worthy.
Two weeks ago on a Friday, a 22 year old man got stabbed; the next day, one 15 year old shot another in front of the local newly-constructed YMCA and both stories make the local newspaper. The circumstances surrounding the altercations seem like minor details to me, and the violence itself just seems unnecessary. Two men under the 22 have lost their lives and eventhough I didn't personally know either of them, it still hurts because these things don't need to happen.
The youth that surrounds us is waiting for our guidance and influence. You don't have to "have it all together" to make a difference. Start small if you have to and dive in when you are more comfortable. Be aware of the power that you hold and that somebody is always looking up to you.
With that being said, I am proud of my good friend Gary Taylor. He got the support of those corporate sponsors and attention from the newspapers all from the thought of just doing something for his community because the situation called for it. Please come out and support the cause that he built and grew organically, this Saturday at 12pm at the Oxford Mount Zion Baptist Church in Caroline County.