SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As Savannah continues to grapple with crime and violence, dozens of local vendors, residents, elected officials and first responders came together Sunday afternoon with one goal.
“A sense of hope,” said Jill Cheeks, executive director of the Mediation Center of Savannah. “A sense of yes, Savannah, we do love each other. You know, we’re going to be there when we’re in need and just feeling that sense of happiness that comes with peace.”
Peace in the Park, hosted by the Mediation Center of Savannah, is meant to bring the community together to connect with each other and resources to help minimize violence and promote peace.
“We’re all facing a number of challenges whether it be financial, economic, work, children, different types of violence,” Cheeks said. “There’s not going to be an absence of that but the more that we can promote peace and really come together to support each other then maybe we’ll have those resources when we’re in need.”
With peace flags in hand, participants paraded through Daffin Park – led by Mayor Van Johnson – to spread their message.
“Peace should be not only a condition that we seek, but it should be really what our operating mode should be,” Johnson said. “It’s the absence of violence and it’s the promotion of peace.”
The mayor said that message is more important now than ever – especially for the city’s youth.
“TV teaches us how to behave badly, music teaches us how to behave badly, sometimes city council members and elected officials show us how to behave badly,” Johnson said. “We have to teach young people at a very early age and reinforce that over the years about how to behave appropriately.”
Moving forward, the Mediation Center is planning to host different peace-promoting activities across the county on the 11th day of every month.