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Events in Carbondale and Marion this weekend call to 'Stop the Violence'
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Events in Carbondale and Marion this weekend call to 'Stop the Violence'

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‘March on Washington’ 57th Anniversary March

Nancy Maxwell, a march organizer from Marion, leads demonstrators in chant on Aug 29 during a march in Carbondale commemorating the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. She is organizing this weekend's 'Stop the Violence' events in Carbondale and Marion.

CARBONDALE — Nancy Maxwell is not slowing down with her goal of curbing community violence. She and others are organizing three-day Stop the Violence events this weekend in both Marion and Carbondale.

Maxwell said the event began to take shape in August, when she said a number of violent crimes happened in Carbondale and throughout the region. She said that this summer she went to about five funerals in a week during that time — three of them were because of violent crime.

So, she and other community leaders began to put together a region-wide program of events scheduled for this weekend. The result is simultaneous events in Carbondale and Marion with the theme of finding ways to engage youth and empower others in the community to take a stand against violence.

A march is planned for Friday to remember Xe’Quan Campbell, the 16-year-old who was killed last year after he was shot while trying to enter an apartment in Carbondale. Campbell and his brother Jay’Quan, 17, received media attention after they disarmed a fellow student, Jekiary Anderson, when he pointed a pistol at the brothers as he boarded Carbondale Community High School Bus 21 on the morning of April 12, 2019.

Maxwell said Carbondale United formed shortly after Campbell's death, but now, she said, the community seems to have moved on.

“Now it seems like he’s kind of forgotten,” Maxwell said.

On Saturday in both Marion and Carbondale, there will be the Fun Not Guns event featuring games, prizes, food, entertainment and possibly even a kickball tournament and other activities. Sunday will feature speakers and a prayer vigil.

Ginger Rye has worked with Maxwell in the past on other events and said there continues to be a need for these campaigns to end violence in Carbondale.

“We are just out of touch with these young people,” she said as one cause of violence.

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Michael Valliant is 36 and has lived in Carbondale most of his life. He said he’s seen a “drastic” change in the community he grew up in. It is both more violent and more disconnected, he said.

Valliant said he sees this problem as coming from a lack of a lot of things — a lack of self-respect, a lack of knowledge, a lack of appreciation for life itself and a lack of understanding of consequences among people in their teens all the way to their 40s.

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Valliant said he knows personally how hard of an impact losing someone to violence can be.

“I understand best what that sting of death feels like when it comes from a violent act,” he said.

Rye, Valliant and Maxwell all agreed that there’s a lot of work to be done.

“We are going to have to roll up our sleeves and just directly deal with the problem head-on,” Maxwell said.

Events begin in Carbondale only at 6 p.m. this Friday with the march for Xe’Quan Campbell. Saturday’s events in both Marion and Carbondale go from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The events in Carbondale will be held at Attucks Park and those in Marion will be at J.W. Jones Park.


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isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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