Local and area mentoring, youth, educational and other activist groups will sponsor a walk through the streets of Union and a rally on the steps of the Union County Courthouse to mobilize the community against the violence plaguing the county.
On Aug. 12, 17-year-old Dequan Tyrone Jones was killed and a 20-year-old man wounded in a shooting incident in the Lukesville Road area of Buffalo.
Three Carlisle men — Chadrick Harold Johnson, Devonta Elemeshion Mobley and Daveus Lamonte Boler — and one Union man — Danny Ray Gossett — are charged by the Union County Sheriff’s Office with murder, attempted murder, malicious injury and discharging a firearm into a dwelling in the incident.
More arrests are expected in the case.
On Aug. 4, a man was fired upon while sitting in his car in front of a Union nightclub and fired upon again as he followed his assailants on the Jonesville-Lockhart Highway.
Four Chester men — Tevin Deonta Fair, Kiama Hason Sanders, Cedric Jamaris Brown and Najahwan Abdul Woodard — are charged by the sheriff’s office with attempted murder in the incident. They are also charged with discharging a firearm at a vehicle, unlawful carrying of a handgun, simple possession of marijuana, and open container.
Fair, Sanders, and Woodard are also charged with minor in possession of beer.
These incidents led the sponsors of the “Walk against Crime … Stop the Violence” walk/rally to move up their plans and hold the anti-violence event on Sept. 15 of this year rather than in early 2013.
“It is something that we’d planned to do in the spring of next year,” organizer Robert Hill said Friday. “But with what’s been going on, we decided to hold it now.”
The “we” are the Jonesville-based Men of Action, Urban Achievements for Youth Education, the Action Network of Union County and the Urban League of the Upstate. The organizations are sponsoring the walk/rally which Smith said is designed to promote community awareness of the problem of violence in Union County and to mobilize the public against it.
“We want to make the community aware of what is going on and to send a message that we’re not going to tolerate the violence,” Hill said. “We want to make a stand against the violence.”
Hill said that while the recent acts of murder and attempted murder spurred the organizations to move up their plans for the walk/rally, the event is not just about those incidents, but about all the violence committed in Union County.
A flier publicizing the rally states the purpose of the walk/rally is to “take back our communities and our youth.”
Another flier urges the public to meet on the courthouse steps to “rally and show their support for victims of crimes such as assault, home invasions, rape, child abuse, elderly abuse, bullying, domestic violence, etc.”
Participants in the walk portion of the event are asked to assemble at the old Sims High School on Sims Drive at 9 a.m.
The march will begin at 10 a.m. and follow a route that Hill said will take it through some of the areas most affected by the violence.
“We’ll start at the old Sims High School on Sims Drive, go around Horseshoe Circle and up South Boulevard,” Hill said. “Then we’ll turn right on Pinckney Street and then left on West Henrietta Street. That’s the start of the Chambertown community. We’ll then take a right on Lipsey Street, then a left on Porter and then take a right on Gage Avenue. We’ll go straight across on South Herndon Street and end up at the courthouse.
“Those are the targeted neighborhoods, those are the neighborhoods that these kids come out of,” he said. “I wish we could march all over Union County, but this is just the first of many anti-violence rallies that will be held.”
When the walkers arrive at the courthouse, the rally portion of the event will begin with speakers addressing the problem of violence in the community, especially at it relates to young people.
“We’ll have Dr. Corinthian Stacks, pastor of Bethany AME Church here in Union, as one of our speakers,” Hill said. “Dr. Stacks is also an employee of the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.
“Also speaking will be Jack Logan, president of ‘Put Down the Gun Young People,’” he said. “We’ll also have Tracy Fant Young of thinktwice2x.org as a speaker.”
Hill said the adult speakers will be followed by three local teenagers.
“Three students from Urban Achievements for Youth Education will also speak,” Hill said. “They will speak on teen violence.”
For more information about the Walk against Crime … Stop the Violence walk/rally, contact Robert Hill at (864) 466-5988 or Randy Smith at (864) 884-5134.