WINNSBORO — They marched because friends or family members had lives that ended far too soon. They marched because violent acts, such as murder, have no place in their neighborhoods nor in civilized society.
Around 50 people turned out last Saturday morning to march from the Fairfield County DSS building to the county courthouse. Children of the late Jamie Robinson marched in honor of a father killed by violence. Jeannette Robinson shared the story of planning the funeral for her son in 2004 after he was stabbed to death at Deerwood Apartments.
She planned the funeral on her son’s birthday.
“He had four children and I had to keep living and keep praying and helping my family as I shed tears,” Jeannette Robinson said. “We had to remember the good things and push forward.”
The walk meant a great deal to 14-year-old Tychan Lucas, who lost his mother at a young age from an act of violence. As he walked with an uncle in the march, he said he thought of her and how she passed and that lives should not end that way in Fairfield County.
The Rev. Eddie Woods thanked the crowd for its support.
“It is our job to use our wisdom and knowledge to prepare young people along the way,” he said. “We put (them) in a position to listen and then apply the wisdom”
He called on individuals to commit gifts and talents to help change the community for the better. Wood lost his brother and two nephews within a five-year period. All died from acts of violence.
The Rev. Chris Nelhuns called children “our right now.”
“They deserve the education, security and opportunity right now,” he said, “(instead of having to worry about the threat of violence in their daily lives).”
The Rev. Johnathan Bell of the St. Peter Community Church in Blair said he had grown up on streets that did not love him back and said this issue is one of love of young people, to show them they belong in their communities apart from gangs.
“I try (when I coach or minister) to be a father figure away from home for the children, particularly for those who lost parents or family to acts of violence,” he said.
Willie Singleton, a community activist originally from rural Barnwell County, mentioned how South Carolina ranks first in death by domestic violence. He called on small town members to help youth filter out the negative and positive influences from music, media and online activities.
“If our children have no knowledge of the repercussions of their actions, then they will just mimic what they see,” he said.
Instead he called on young people and adults to do more to help pull up the next generation into better life’s circumstances.
“The potential for greatness is there but we must learn to stop the violence of the mind (from music and multimedia influence) and the ‘violence of community inaction’ (a violence that harms young people by not showing them a better way)” he said.
Marchers released balloons in memory of lost loved ones and vowed to use the hurt and anger some still felt over their circumstances as fuel for changing the situation for the better.