CHURCH HOSTS RALLY TO EDUCATE, ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO STAND UP TO BULLYING

Stop The Violence

Reporting by WVUA 23 Reporter Monae Stevens

Stopping the violence starts with education and Weeping Mary Baptist Church is working to bring that awareness to the community.

The “Stop the Violence” rally was held this weekend at the church for its fourth year. The community is aware of the violence that goes on in Tuscaloosa, and their concern is educating youth on how to stand up to violence and bullying that happens around them.

“They might witness it in their homes, you know, and they might be scared to say something about it,” Kenyetta Cheatum-Wells, CEO of Big Sistas with Purpose, said.

Chandra Mack, who works with Cherlon Kennedy as directors of the DV League Mentoring Initiative, said making sure kids know how to identify and react to bullies is a fundamental part of their development.

“The coping skills and mechanisms we teach our kids is what they grow up using,” Mack said.

Kennedy said alternative options for bullying reactions is important for the wellbeing of students and their peers.

“We have to teach them other ways to resolve issues,” Cherlon Kennedy said. “Other than, you know, going towards violence – guns, knives.”

Several people spoke Saturday on how just speaking up can make a difference.

“Let everybody know that, ‘Hey I need help. I need help in my family. I need help in my community,’” Cheatum-Wells said.

The people of our community feel that by teaching children to stand up against violence and bullying, the world would be a much better place.

“I think the world, altogether is going to be much greater,” Kennedy said. “Imagine how far our children would be able to go, and how far they can go in school and how much they can learn, the growth and what they’re able to bring for the kids in the future.”

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