Friday, April 27, 2007

Anti-Violence Activist to Speak at Two Nashville Schools

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A Detroit mother, Clementine Barfield, started the Save Our Sons and Daughters (SOSAD) program after two of her sons were shot in 1986. Sadly, Derek, the 16-year-old, did not survive the incident—both of Barfield’s sons were caught in a crossfire. SOSAD’s mission is to help victims of crime and prevent other young people from engaging in violent lifestyles. The organization operates a 24-hour hotline for the families of victims that need advice and support.

SOSAD also operates a youth leadership training program, which brings together young people and volunteer police officers, and conducts rallies to encourage youth to avoid trouble. The group actively lobbies local and national public officials to focus attention on crime and its innocent victims.

"When we talked to elementary schoolchildren, we found that 80 to 85 percent of them personally know someone who has been killed,” Barfield told Ebony magazine in 1999. “The majority, believe it or not, have had a grandparent killed,” she said. “If your reality is that you could die any day, then why is killing someone so farfetched?"

Barfield, who has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, the Justice Files, and other television programs will give a message titled, “How to Keep Your Child Safe from Drugs and Gangs" at W. A. Bass Middle School, 5200 Delaware Ave., in Nashville on Thursday, May 3, 5:30–8 p.m. She’ll speak about “Creating a Culture of Peace” on Thursday, May 10, 5:30–8 p.m. at Park Avenue Elementary School, 3703 Park Ave., in Nashville.

"We need to teach children peace," Barfield told the Harvard Public Health Review last month. Children have all kinds of words to describe violence, she said, "but when we ask them to describe peace, they have only a few words to describe that."

5 comments:

Anne said...

If dying at any moment is a real possiblility...
That's where the problem lies, isn't it? No hope. Nothing to lose. Nobody dares to dream or even care about anything if it may be torn away at any moment.
There are pundits who talk in circles looking for the root cause of the problem - deep in our psyche or deep in our history.
There are activists like the brave woman you just wrote about who want to end the violence now.
I think we need both types of these people, and God bless them for caring, even if some of the kids don't care about themselves.

I don't know if it's just because of the particular blogs I've chosen to read lately, but I think I may be seeing a movement quietly building, returning to the fierce activism of the 1960's. That gives me hope. I would love to see more Unity, Self-determination, Collective work, Cooperative economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. This time for more people than ever, maybe even our country as a whole.

Hope is nothing and everything.

Alicia Benjamin said...

Anne,
Death is actually a REAL possibility at any moment for ALL OF US. If we all keep this in mind, then that might be the key to changing people's perspective. If you could die at any moment, and you are consciously aware of this, how much more would we cherish our own lives and the lives of others?

Alicia

Anne said...

Thank you for putting it that way. I wish more people felt like that, but I think (a) mortality rate is significantly higher in some areas of our country than in other areas, especially death from crimes. And (b) not everyone has the same outlook. Some cherish life more, while some others get negative and reckless. Just my personal opinion.

Sorry if I sounded preachy earlier. I was in full activist mode due to things I had been reading before I got here. I still am a little bit.

Alicia Benjamin said...

Anne,
Yes indeed. The mortality rate is defnitely higher in certain cities and neighborhoods. ALL life should be equally cherished. In my opinion, this should be the goal--perhaps a lofty one, but at least we can work for that.

Anne said...

That sounds like a great goal, one very much worth working for.