Warren family event memorializes Trayvon and others, calls for end to violence
Dozens of families gathered in Warren’s Packard Park on Sunday to memorialize Trayvon Martin and to call for an end to violence in Warren, the Mahoning Valley, the nation and the world.
“We want to send a message to stop the violence, stop the hate,” said Shabrea Lewis, a participant.
The event combined solemn tributes and serious calls for nonviolence amid a carnival atmosphere to attract young people that included a children’s jumping tent, games, cotton candy and Skittles.
Martin, the 17-year-old unarmed teenager shot and killed in Florida last month, was carrying a bag of Skittles and wearing a hooded sweat shirt when the gunfire erupted.
“Trayvon’s death is not about hoodies. It’s about the combination of a male, an African American and violence,” against them, said Warren City Councilwoman Helen Rucker, one of the speakers at the event.
She added that police, city leaders and the community must all be held accountable toward preventing such violence.
She said residents must stand up and “never condone inappropriate behavior in our communities.”
She said like Sanford, Warren has had its share of grievances against the city police department, includcharges of brutality.
Rucker, however, said those relations have improved under the administration of Chief Tim Bowers and with the intervention of the U.S. Justice Department.
The event also called attention to another tragedy affecting children last month in Warren: a house fire March 3 on Austin Avenue that killed two adults and two young girls.
Other participants in the event Sunday included radio personalities and Warren Mayor Doug Franklin.