YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Non-violence was the theme Sunday in downtown Youngstown, as the the 3rd annual Peace Parade spread its message throughout the streets. However, this year, its more than just a Youngstown movement.
What has turned into an annual event, the Peace Parade marched through downtown in hopes of spreading the message of peace, that started decades ago.
“These students decided that they have seen a lot of things in their life that they might not have liked, they have seen a lot of violence within their families and friends and they wanted to make a push that they are not going to tolerate this anymore,” said Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D)-Ohio.
“It is very important, like you said, violence has increased over the years and we need to get that message out there,” added Sojourn to the Past student Sarina Chatman.
The movement in Youngstown started in 2011, by students involved in Sojourn to the Past. Now, it’s turned into much more; this year a bill was passed in Ohio, headed by Senator Schiavoni, to hold a state-wide Non-Violence Week, but Schiavoni and others said the credit goes to the students.
“If they did not come into my office that day this would have never occurred,” said Schiavoni.
“This was a student idea, working with their incredible teacher and it should be now replicated throughout the country. No other state has Non-Violence Week throughout the state and it started here in Youngstown, Ohio,” added Jeff Steinberg, founder of Sojourn to the Past.
In an area that’s been troubled by violence, Schiavoni said he believes things like this could be the start of change, not only in Youngstown, but throughout the state.
“As events like this grow across the state, people are going to start realizing that there is a better way there is a different way, you do not have to what your parents do, what your aunt and uncle do, what your cousins do, you can make a statement for yourself that you want to make your communities better,” said Schiavoni.
Events are planned all week long related to Non-Violence Week. Check back to WKBN.com for the latest events.