Stop the Violence rally draws few participants; next step is bringing rally to residents

By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Peyton Newman

Fewer than a dozen people gathered Thursday afternoon at what was supposed to be a Stop the Violence rally hosted by District 7 Tuscaloosa City Council Member Cassius Lanier.

Increasing crime rates are causing concern among community leaders, so they’ve been hosting a series of events advocating against violence.

Lanier said it should have been a packed house.

Thursday’s goal was educating young people on their responsibility in keeping Tuscaloosa peaceful, but there weren’t enough people there to hear that message.

“Just don’t do it, don’t,” Lanier said. “Look, put the guns up. If you’re here to have a good time, come have a good time. Come dance, party, you know, mingle, fellowship with each other. But put the guns up. If you wanna use a gun, go to Iraq, go to war, sign up for the military.”

Rally attendee teen Jaterrius Taylor said he’s disappointed in the turnout.

“I feel like it starts with us,” Taylor said.  “The people, they don’t really know which direction we need to go to keep events going and have a good time with Tuscaloosa’s nightlife. So I feel like we can get that message out to everyone and show them different ways we can improve the community and improve how we act.”

Lanier said crime in Tuscaloosa affects residents, business owners and potential entrepreneurs alike. Some businesses have been forced to close their doors, and other businesses have found it hard to get off the ground.

But he’s not taking the disappointing turnout as a sign to give up. Instead, he’s gonna bring the message to the people.

Lanier’s first stop? Spades Restaurant and Lounge on July 11. That’s Taco Tuesday at Spade, so Lanier will be getting his message out while residents fill up on tacos and cocktails.

Categories: Featured, Local News