Peace Walk and Rally

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Plans are coming together for a stop-the-violence rally, scheduled for Aug. 22 in the Fairmont community.

Denise Sierra proposed the peace walk and rally to take the neighborhood back from the gang violence. Her son was killed in 2013, shot in the head after walking away from a fight. He was listed as a gang member, Sierra said, but she knew in her heart he was good. I’ve seen a lot of kids who grew up with my son die after he died,” she said, from the gang violence in the area. “I want better.”

The goals of the rally are to provide the youth in the area another option than what is dictated by the streets, said David Dodd, one of the organizers of the event, and a local pastor who ministers in the community with Impact Racing Ministries on Kentucky Avenue.

Dodd said the emphasis is on creating a gathering space, with information on some of the services available including GED and jobs training, Scouts, “and other opportunities and activities to attract them away from what the streets dictate.”

Conda Jones pointed out the irony that people who need jobs end up getting arrested and working for free.
“It’s a travesty,” she said. “These boys sell drugs and get locked up and have to do work for free.”
She said they need more than love, they need training and jobs, and she had hoped there would be some local work with the work at Meriwether Homes.

Griffin Police Department Capt. Homer Daniel said Southern Crescent Technical College offers GED and training programs, and he offered to talk with the college to have them come out for the event.
The event will include a march, as well as information tents on various services available, including GED information, job training, community organizations, Scouts, blood pressure and diabetes screenings, neighborhood watch, and law enforcement. There will also be a disc jockey with live music and food, most likely hot dogs, water and shaved ice.
There are plans to start a Scout troop as well, but Dodd said organizers need the commitment of at least four adult leaders. So far there are two volunteers, and Dodd asked for more so the troop will not just start up only to stop later, noting the community needs consistency and has seen too many programs come and go.
Community residents and Griffin police officers will also be going door to door with fliers prior to the event to invite everyone in the Fairmont community. They will also be surveying residents on what they see as the most important issues, with a goal of being able to address some of them at the event.

There will be one more planning meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 11, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at 227 Kentucky Ave., where plans will be finalized, and fliers will go out. The door-to-door invites will be done twice, once that evening and one Saturday prior to the Aug. 22 event, scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m.

After the first event, the goal is to have similar events in other parts of the city, going from community to community. Anyone with ideas or suggestions for the event is asked to contact Lisa Fambro at 770-880-8681, Denise Sierra at 678-914-6169 or David Dodd at 770-364-7880.

Ray Lightner
Griffin Daily News