Syracuse will hold its first-ever “Get Your Kids Rally” at the Kirk Park Pavilion this Sunday, Oct. 13. The rally will run from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. The goal: to bring the community together in a stand against street violence in Syracuse.
Organizer Mary Nelson, of the Mary Nelson Youth Center, created the event in response to the slaying of Jim Gifford, a 70-year-old man who was beaten to death outside a city convenience store. Police say the lead suspect in the case is an 18-year-old man with a lengthy criminal history.
The rally goal is to get parents to take control of their children so this type of violence does not continue.
Worletta Clemons, a Syracuse community member, told CNY Central News, “What’s wrong is the community is raising them. What do you think the community is doing? Half the community is selling drugs and if they are not selling drugs they doing drugs. Get your kids!”
Nelson was so inspired by Clemons’ comments to CNY Central that the words became the name for the rally.
“Get your kids. The police need to let them know, if you don’t get them, we will,” Clemons said.
All parents who attend this Sunday will be given a free backpack for their children. The backpack will include a wide variety of school supplies.
Mary Nelson has also put together other events for Syracuse youth, including her Annual Youth Day Barbecue that puts school supplies in kids’ hands.
She also runs the Mary Nelson Youth Center, which is staffed by volunteers and is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturdays. It is located at 2849 S. Salina St. (Phone 315 – 422 – 5690)
The program provides children with free breakfast, lunch and dinner, help with resume-writing, homework assistance, book readings and a computer lab that is open for those who are looking for jobs or an apartment.