T he first ever get your kids rally against street violence was held today in Syracuse's Kirk Park pavilion. The "get your kids rally was organized in response to the shocking death of James Gifford, 70, from Syracuse who was beaten to death last month outside a 7-11 convenience. The suspect is an 18-year-old man who police say has a long criminal history.
Worletta Clemons spoke up after the violent beating. Worletta lost her own son to gun violence years earlier. Now her words are inspiring a community to take action and teach our youth about the dangers of gun and street violence.
Syracuse neighbors are outraged and rallying for change.
Antoinette Golden was at the rally alongside more than one hundred other neighbors. "Everybody, I beg you! Please! Stop it! Stop the violence! Just stop," says Golden.
"It's not about angry, it's about being fed up, it's about being fed up. And people taking responsibility for their kids," says Clemons.
Advocates here at Kirk Park say parents need to get their children involved in activities like youth football or the YMCA as a way to keep them off the streets or away from violence. City leaders and community organizers were there to send a stern warning about the realities of crime and their potential consequences.
Mary Nelson organized today's rally on Syracuse's south side. "This rally here today is to get your kids. If we do not get our kids they gonna go through the criminal justice system and that's something we do not want, we don't want that," says Nelson.
Neighbors say the inner city's current culture needs to change now.
"Know where they at at all times! At all times. Some people take better care of their pets than they do their kids. It's not right," says Clemons.
Advocates hope the message will sink in so some change can come to the community.