Hundreds of people participated in a rally and march against violence and crime Saturday in North St. Louis.
Organizer James Clark says Better Family Life, Inc. planned the event several months ago. However, he says a shooting that left a teenager dead and six others hurt Friday on the 5100 block of Palm Street underscores the reason they marched Saturday.
The event began on stage with several people sharing their stories about how violence and crime has impacted their lives. Many people in the crowd help up signs and wore shirts with photos of loved ones they've lost to violence.
After the rally, they marched in the middle of the street, heading west on Page Blvd., to Better Family Life headquarters. There, they had a "Rally of Accountability."
Clark says that was the purpose of Saturday's event. He says they want to create awareness about the importance of accountability within the African-American community.
"We are quick to rally and protest against systematic racism and we should. We are quick to protest and rally when a police officer kills an African-American and we should but we are eerily silent when we kill each other ... We have to address it. We have ignored it for too long," Clark said.
Clark says Better Family Life's work doesn't stop with this march. They're in the neighborhoods everyday trying to pass their message on to families.There is no transferable capital when black people note the excessive violence their community creates, which is strangely absent within the white community.
It is only valuable when blacks rally and protest against systematic racism or when a white cop kills an innocent black person.
Without a black population in metropolitan St. Louis, there'd be no need to march against violence because there'd be less than five murders a year and virtual no non-fatal shootings. Bell Curve City: St. Louis, Ferguson, and the Unmentionable Racial Realities That Shape Them provides the data to confirm this reality.
The American Colonization Society once dreamed of a nation free of the burden of the population keeping the need for a "March Against Violence" or "Rally Against Violence" alive.