Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stop The Violence Start The Love

Mission Abilene is hosting the 2nd annual “Stop the Violence, Start the Love” Rally on May 31, 2009 at the Abilene Civic Center from 10:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The purpose of the family-friendly event is to shine a light on violence and crime within our city and to raise awareness to the devastating and long-term consequences of violent crime. Proceeds will benefit the Regional Crime Victims Crisis Center.

Admission is free. The event will begin with a community-wide worship service at 10:45am with Mission Abilene Pastor Chad Mitchell and the Mission Band leading the service. Throughout the day until 6:00 p.m., citizens may enjoy live music with bands including Words in Windows, Counter Clockwise, and our own local DJ MexMix as well as experience local known artists painting, drawing, and creating on site.

There will be free children’s activities - air castles, balloon tricks, a ventriloquist etc as well as a tattoo contest, concession stands, t-shirt sales, and merchandise.

Team players from the Ruff Riders are taking a stand against violence with the community. They will be on site to sign autographs. A featured exhibit of local non-profit agencies and organizations will provide needed information, education, and resources to the residents of Abilene and the surrounding communities. A city-wide memorial service will be held to honor those who have been killed by violence followed by a special concert by up and coming rap performing artist Ryze following the service.

The local and national television news stations and newspapers broadcast story after violent story every day but all too often viewers remain unfazed until violence personally touches their own lives. Gang violence is dismissed because viewers perceive both the killed and the killers as criminals yet each one of those is someone’s child, brother or sister, father or mother, or beloved friend. Too often, society easily forgets that the consequences of violent crime reach far beyond those directly involved until they hear about innocent victims who have been blamelessly and unwillingly targeted by driveby shootings, hit by stray gunfire. Far too many are wounded or killed in the midst of gang warfare—battles that are not their own. Viewers and readers shake their heads in dismay and pity at the cruel and endless stories of domestic violence and abuse when an abuser finally hits one too many times or too hard or loses all sense in a rage and kills. Yet they remain unaware that those victims who silently suffer for years are the next door neighbor or the women who quietly sit in the same at church or the child who plays with their own children. If people suspect, they often look the other way because they are not willing to get “involved.”

Chad Mitchell, pastor of Mission Abilene grew restless when too many of the church members victims or were family members. After Albert Cadena’s death last year, he and Mission Abilene decided it was time to take a stand against violence—to get involved. Change is not the sole responsibility of law enforcement or the legal system. Change begins with each and every citizen—in their own homes, in their own neighborhoods. Change begins when one makes the choice to stop the violence and start to love. The first city-wide rally was held last August and people began to see their ability and responsibility to make a difference and be the difference. Mission Abilene invites each and every citizen to join them as a community to honor those who have been senselessly murdered, to help those who still suffer as victims through raising funds for the Regional Crime Victims Crisis Center, and to take a united stand against violence.

Event: Stop the Violence, Start the Love Rally
Date: May 31, 2009
Time: 10:45 – 6:00
Location: Abilene Civic Center
Host: Mission Abilene and partnering sponsors
For information, contact Mission Abilene at 325-232-8258

If you have a local service - please come afterwards. The children's activities are all free.

1 comment:

Summer said...

I just realized that you left a second comment. I think we could make things work with Leah. I plan on having some helpers so I am sure she would do great. Let me know if you're still interested. We have about 4 or 5 openings left.