A rally was held last Tuesday at the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce pavilion with words from Mayor Norma Strabala and Charles Banks, Sr.
Banks spoke to parents about being parents and not being their child’s friend. He spoke to the youth about the importance of respecting their parents and authority. He also spoke to the community about the importance of if you know something about a crime, tell the police.
“It is not snitching, it is helping get justice,” said Banks to the crowd of about 60.
Prosecuting Attorney Tim Blair spoke also.
Blair talked about the cases that come across his desk about young people and guns. He talked about living in Stuttgart and wanting to feel safe.
Several law enforcement agencies were also present at the rally. Blair said he needed everyone to get involved, to take an interest and ownership of what is going on in the community.
“If you know something, come forward,” he said. “As far as guns go, if you are a youth and are caught with a gun, I will charge you as an adult. If you are an adult and caught with a gun in criminal circumstances, you will do prison time. If you are a felon and caught with a gun, you will be charged federally.”
Blair thanked Banks for putting the event together.
Banks introduced a representative of the Bones family who thanked everyone for coming out in support. He spoke of how Omar had influenced him to be better than he could be. He was overcome with emotion and said he had a whole bunch to say but he was hurting so bad.
City Councilman Joe Alexander, Jr. came up with his son and said from now on he would know where his son is. He said gun violence is taking over our youth.
“You think it is all fun and games until you get behind bars,” said Alexander. “You have a chance now. Stay off the streets. Go home. You have to have a desire to do good.”
Alexander thanked Banks for all that he does for the youth.
Banks thanked everyone, pastors, community leaders, and friends of Bones.
“We as a community, have to come together,” said Banks who said the Lord spoke to him about putting the rally together. “Why does someone have to die for that to happen?”