By Sarrah Peters
Gadsden Job Corps Center students and staff were joined by members of the community, including the Gadsden City High School cheerleaders, Gadsden City Councilman Thomas Worthy and more, for a Peace March on Wednesday Sept. 21. The marchers walked from the Gadsden Job Corps Center down Tuscaloosa Avenue to Carver Community Center.
Once the marchers reached the community center, Job Corps students danced to music playing outside. The Job Corps was joined by local headstarts who played on inflatables.
Gertie Lowe welcomed people to the event, thanking the students and staff of the Gadsden Job Corps Center.
“We teach love, respect and peace for all,” said Lowe. “God gave us a command a long, long time ago to love one another, as he loves us. And when love prevails, violence will cease.”
Gary Hodges of Trinity Broadcasting Network gave the invocation.
“There are so many unsettling and hurtful events swirling all around our country, and even around the entire globe,” said Hodges. “There are many here today that have experienced much hurt, Lord, and disappointments in their lives. Our young men and women are facing the most uncertain social upheavals ever. This morning we pray especially for them as they try to navigate their lives through these troubled times searching for some sense of peace.”
After the invocation, Mayor Sherman Guyton spoke to the students. He told the students to work hard to reach their goals and not to give in to peer pressure.
“Don’t let people bring you down,” said Guyton. “Don’t let bad influences bring you down. If somebody is not doing the right thing, get you some new friends. You can do whatever you want to. The world is wide open.”
Guyton then presented Gadsden Job Corps Center Director Juvenel Levros with a proclamation naming September 21 as Youth 2 Youth: Partners 4 Peace Day in Gadsden.
“Whereas, in the spring of 2015, Job Corps students took action and organized Youth 2 Youth: Partners 4 Peace to combat youth violence in the United States,” read Guyton from the proclamation. “Whereas, Y2Y provides students with the ability to prevent violence on school campuses by discussing violence and aggression, learning how their peers are affected by youth violence, empowering one another to make a difference in suggesting solutions.”
After the proclamation, Gadsden Job Corps Center Director Juvenel Levros thanked everyone for coming and the students for planning the event.
“Job Corps is committed to being a safe and secure environment for young people to receive education and hands-on centered training,” said Levros. “We are proud to support the national forum on youth violence prevention.”
He said that love is the best way to combat evil and hatred. He said that the anthem for the week of Y2Y programs had been “one week, one message, one goal. Once he said the anthem, students in the crowd chanted it back to him.
“The goal is unity,” said Levros. “The message is the actions and interactions that will make a positive impact on a person’s life. The one week is a challenge. I challenge each and every one of you to spread love on a weekly basis. I challenge you to spread love on a daily basis. I challenge you to spread love on an hourly basis. Minute to minute, second by second to make cherishable moments that will last a lifetime.”