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Parents Group Sets Back to School Youth Rally

Aug. 3, 2004 – St. Croix students will rally for peace just before the start of the new school year. Parents Against Violence, a new coalition exploring ways to stop the spiral of violence in the community, is organizing the event, set for Aug. 14 at the Agriculture Fairgrounds.
The event will take place from 2 to 7 p.m. and will feature local talent and youth speakers.
"We want to send the youth back to school with a positive message," organizer May Adams Cornwall said.
Local reggae artists including Army and Mother Nile will be featured, along with D.J. Swain and the Fusion and Xtaushan bands. Cornwall said artists are still being solicited. Solutions Improv will represent teen talent, and Cyndee's Models in the Isle will be showing off the latest in school uniform fashions.
Cornwall, president of the Education Complex Parent-Teacher Association, says the goal of the rally is to bring the issue of peace to the forefront in schools, in the community and in the homes. "Youth speakers are putting together short presentations on non-violence and peaceful conflict resolution," she said.
Cornwall also is one of the key organizers of Parents Against Violence. "It's a grass-roots movement" made up of parents from the Complex and Central High Schools. "Our goal is to increase parents' involvement in decreasing violence in the community, the schools and the homes," she said.
Anyone is welcome to join the group, she said. "There are no walls; violence is everywhere."
Once school starts, Cornwall hopes to integrate the new group into the PTSA, the umbrella group of school PTAs. "We want to emphasize the 'P' and get parents more involved," she said. "We are just getting the ball rolling."
Cornwall hopes to overcome the barriers that keep parents from getting involved in after-school and weekend youth activities. "Whatever it is that is keeping parents away from the PTA meetings and other activities, we have to find out," she said. To that end, she is prepared to take the message to the streets. "We are going to hold satellite meetings in neighborhoods and speak at community meetings," she said.
Cornwall hopes Parents Against Violence can become a catalyst to a sustained non-violence movement. "I was tired of people reacting for a short period of time," she said. "It's time for continual, hands-on support of our schools and children."
To volunteer your services for the rally or to become a part of the group, call 773-0083.
Organizers are also looking for vendors and PTA associations who are interested in a refreshment booth for the event. See details in a separate Comm/Other article.

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