Back to school rally aimed to stop the violence

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Hundreds of children and parents lined up at the Pleasant Valley shopping center Sunday afternoon for free school supplies.

The rally also had a message of peace. Organizers called to “stop the violence,” and they did so through action, marching for themselves, in hopes of spreading that message.

“We encourage the kids to live in peace,” said Prichard City Council member, Lorenzo Martin.

Students of all ages lined up, marching around the Pleasant Valley shopping center, united in one message.

“For me too, because I’m an African American in Mobile, Ala., and I love my life,” said Andrew Carstarphan.

“It helps people get off the streets and show that people really do care about their lives and other people’s lives. And like, you really need to put the guns down,” Trinity Lee said.

Lee was one of those marchers. This message is personal for her.

“I lost a friend to gun violence,” Lee said.

That friend, Anesa Baker.

Anesa was at a spring break concert on Easter weekend of 2018 when shots rang out. She was an innocent bystander during what police later called a gang feud outside The Grand Hall.

Lee now marches in her memory.

“I know that she’s in a good place and she would want me to help and to do everything I can to stop the violence,” Lee said.

Sunday’s rally was meant to encourage others to stop violence before it even begins.

“We more emphasize what we’re doing and telling the kids ‘if you see something, say something,'” Martin said.

The Marching Cougars were also there for the parade, providing music. The Marching Cougars is a privately funded program, developed to enhance the education of music with the youth, giving them something safe to do. Their band director says they hope to make an impact in the community. They are in need of donations to help educate the children.

After the mainline, hundreds of kids were given supplies they need to be prepared for this coming school year.

Mobile County Public Schools go back in session on Tuesday.

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