YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown residents gathered in the Covelli Centre parking lot to listen to a number of speakers at a rally that kicked off the start of Ohio Nonviolence Week.
A large crowd of around 150 people crammed into a small area to hear local leaders talk about peace.
“Sometimes people have the wrong impression that somehow nonviolence is weak and it’s the opposite, nonviolence is powerful,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
City leaders talked about how love and self-confidence can promote change.
“How many of you understand [that] not loving yourself is the beginning of violence? Understand that,” said Youngstown 1st Ward Councilman Julius Oliver.
Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown warned the crowd that violence and mass shootings on the scale we’ve seen around the country could happen here.
“We’ve had things happen across this country that could very well happen right here in Youngstown, Ohio. I don’t have to go far to my friend Mayor Nan Whaley in Dayton, Ohio. That could happen right here in Youngstown, Ohio,” Brown said.
Brown also said he’s worried about certain people buying guns.
“Where are my babies buying these guns, the illegal guns? That’s what I want to find out,” he said.
Youngstown City Schools CEO Justin Jennings spoke about how kids can help with eliminating violence.
“Young people, you have to help each other. You got to put the guns down. You got to stop bullying on social media. You got to stop doing that. You got to stop bullying in school,” Jennings said.
One of the final keynote speakers said that to curb violence, look no further than the device in your hand.
“Well, you’ve got the internet right at your fingertips. You’re walking across the street, looking at your phone. Use it for something. Email somebody and say this has to stop,” said Minnijean Brown-Trickey.
Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel and Mahoning Valley Sojourn Director Penny Wells also spoke at the rally.
On Sunday, a parade was also held along Wick Avenue and Wood Street to promote Nonviolence Week.
For a full list of events planned for this week, head over to OhioNonviolenceWeek.org.