About Town: S.T.O.P. Violence
A coalition designed to provide positive alternatives to violence through awareness and education.
Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Leo Tolstoy, Mother Theresa, and the Aga Khan. These renowned individuals represent a sampling of present and past practitioners of non-violence whose passion and activism over the years has created a trickle down effect, influencing even the smallest communities far and wide to step up and participate in the effort to stop violence. In keeping with our local theme, "nonviolence begins with you," another community initiative, led by Angela McNair, has joined the ranks of other local nonviolence groups by implementing S.T.O.P. (Standing Together On Preventing) the Violence - a coalition designed to provide positive alternatives to violence through awareness and education.
And in keeping with the theme of About Town - this organization has planned several events in the coming weeks to help promote their movement - in hopes of ultimately motivating the community to participate and support their cause.
S.T.O.P. actually started out as a rally just under a year ago. "The coalition marched from Parade Street to Wayne Middle School. We had a variety of speakers and performers that participated in the cause and the following weekend we held a community awareness day," McNair said. "After that event, we started building momentum and began brainstorming other ideas to build awareness. We decided at that point, with the organization in its infancy, that hosting a series of events was the best way to get this initiative rolling."
Originally from Erie, McNair holds a master's degree in social work and is a child therapist. "I work with children and youth. The passion to help others has always been in my family. My aunt has her own outreach program, my grandmother was very involved in the community, and we are always looking for ways to assist others in turning their lives around. I live in a part of our community where much of this violence occurs – and sadly, people are so unaware and uneducated about how much violence impacts us."
McNair's hope is to turn this initiative into an after-school program. "I'm currently in talks with some other agencies in hopes of collaborating. We are looking to have a program that incorporates physical, mental, and social activities – whether it's exercise related or music and art, or a work-partnership program – we hope to work with these children and youth and get them off the streets. We also want to work with their families as we know many issues start in the home and we need to address those directly – but we want to do this in a place where children have a safe haven and we can manage behaviors more effectively."
With that, the following events will be on hand April 14 and 15.:
Erie Rips the Runway – on Saturday, April 14, a night of fashion and music will be held at 6 p.m. in the Blasco Library H.O. Hirt Auditorium. The event will feature recording artist Ricky R-Dot Sanders and the A-Boiz, Teleah Hollingsworth, and more. Live DJ, door prizes and 50/50 raffle.
Gospel Explosion – on Sunday, April 15, come out and get your praise on! Beginning at 5 p.m. in the Blasco Library H.O. Hirt Auditorium. The event will feature recording artist Mt. Sinai ministries of Cleveland, Kathleen Glenn-Johnson, Prophetic Praise, Royalty Mime Ministry, and more.
"This is just the start," McNair added. "We will have other events in the coming months including a talent show in the summer. Both events in April are free and are open to anyone that is interested in participating. We are still looking for volunteers and crew members, and as with any charitable organization, donations are always very much appreciated."
For more information about these events or the program, contact Angela McNair at 860.0728.