GHS students lead anti-violence march to City Hall

Tthe second annual anti-violence march, Tuesday from Greenville High School to City Hall, was supported by faculty, students and community leaders.

The purpose of the march is to raise awareness of violence that occurs with youth of Greenville, and how it impacts students of GHS. The march serves to demonstrate to all generations that by standing together and breaking down the attitudes of violence, the city may grow and become a better place to live for all.

Genesis Norman, Student Goverment Association president, hopes students who attend GHS after her will continue the march.

“It would be beneficial to carry on the legacy of this march,” Norman said. “It’s something the students planned and organized, and we want them to continue it and to make it better.”

Aaron White, march organizer, recalled the pain of seeing students he once taught lost to senseless violence.

“In recent years, we’ve suffered large amounts of violence with our students,” White said. “It’s one thing to wait on city officials or leaders to step up and handle the situations, but it’s another thing to step up and figure out ways to make it better ourselves. They aren’t the only ones affected by it. We can’t just sit around and wait on something to get done. When we come together as one, we can make an effort to help alleviate the problem.”

Edward Groton, GHS teacher, is proud of the students for taking a stand for something that they believe in.

“It’s really good to see students take action on a topic that is effecting the community,” Groton said. “It shows that they really care about making a difference, and their actions show hope for the future.”

Students of GHS were given a rubric for an essay contest with the topic of violence, and the winners would read their essays at the march.

Originally given as a class project by an English teacher at GHS, Deshonnon Robinson, she decided the contest would bring light to violence and the march.

“All of my students were required to write an expository essay on the topic ‘How Has Violence Impacted My Life.’My students enjoyed this assignment because they were given the opportunity to express themselves through their writing.

“I have always given my students a way to unleash their present issues into a writing composition. Many of my students wrote exceptionally well; but, I could not choose many because of the personal content.”

Robinson gave students the choice to read their essays to the class or to her.

“They were given a chance to tell their story,” she said. “The majority of them preferred to read to me instead of reading to a large crowd. I informed them that it was alright, and that I was glad that they had an opportunity to release their inner emotions. In the end, this made my classes closer because they understood one another’s pain as well as learned something new about one another.”

Ahdis Beruk, Miss GHS, said she is proud of the impact created by the march and the essays.

“I think that it positively impacted the students of Greenville,” Beruk said. “I feel that listening to the essays built a connection and we were able to identify the violence and pain other students vocalize in their speeches.”

In addition to students at GHS, educators and community leaders were also brought closer together.

“I hope the majority of the children understand the point of the march,” said Broderick Lance, GHS teacher. “That violence is not the way to go. Just because we are taught if ‘You hit me first, I hit back’ method growing up – that isn’t always what’s needed to get your point across. Even with the speeches that were given, the students saw that physical violence isn’t always called for. It can mess up not only your life but the life of others as well.”

Greenville Mayor Errick D.Simmons saluted Greenville High students, teachers and administration.

“The greatest cure to solve the disease of gun violence and crime is student activism,” Simmons said. “You know one of the greatest moments of change and activism in our history was the civil rights movement that birthed a young Baptist preacher who preached and practiced non-violence. Tuesday, the City of Greenville is proud to see students in 2019 marching for the same thing – nonviolence.”

Makayla Marsalis, SGA, wants students and the community to use their voice against violence and stand up for what’s right.

“Don’t be afraid to use your voice,” Marsalis said. “As human beings, one of the most powerful things we possess is our voice. Don’t allow anyone to take your voice especially if you’re using it for the greater good. Speak positivity and growth back in the community. Restore strength back into my generation and generations after me.”