Although Wednesday’s rally in Willis Park against drugs and gang activity bore Ebony Clarke’s name, for the most part, it was not about her life.
While she was remembered as a sweet, soft-spoken person who did not deserve to lose her life to street violence, even her mother told supporters that the rally was meant for the living.
Inspirational rapper Emmanuel Bryant, who is the founder of Fearless Faith Ministries, sang three songs at the rally. The songs’ lyrics called on people to join a spiritual war against forces that erode our society; they asked people to pray for others who are caught up in and influenced by the problems that threaten individuals’ quality of life; they specifically mentioned criminal gang activity as something that needs to end for people to realize true freedom.
Many people can read the news and see that Bainbridge deals with illegal drugs and street gangs that commit crimes like robbery, burglary and theft. The problems’ solutions are complex, but special community policing and better methods for people to report suspicious activity are helping.
But perhaps one thing that is still needed is awareness that drugs and gangs are real and affect every Bainbridge citizen, regardless of where they live or what their socio-economic background is.
What’s needed is an attitude of refusing to accept the conditions that lead people to drugs and gangs; poverty and lack of productive activities for youth are two of the most prevalent. Attack those issues, and everyone benefits.
That’s what Ebony’s March is really all about, and the mission it will continue to have as next year’s rally is planned.