Anti-violence rally Sunday at T.B. Park
Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 2:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 2:55 p.m.
"The Ballers Cookout" on Sunday afternoons at the T.B. McPherson Recreation Center is becoming "Peaceful Sundays."
STOP THE VIOLENCE RALLY
What: The Peaceful Sundays Stop the Violence Rally with speakers, balloon releases, food.
When: 4-8:15 p.m. Sunday.
Where: T.B. McPherson Recreation Center, 1717 SE 15th St.
Information: Email swamplandENT@ymail.com.
And Sunday, organizers are planning a Stop the Violence Rally from 4-8:15 p.m. at the center at 1717 SE 15th St. in the wake of the death of Barry Barney of Gainesville, who was shot last month at the CrabFest in Williston, and to remember the second anniversary of the shooting death of Jearicka "Pooh" Mack, who died on May 14, 2011, following a birthday party at the Lions Club in Gainesville. A funeral was held Tuesday for Barney.
Gainesville resident Robert "Love" Dore of SwamplandENT, organizer of the event, said "senseless acts of violence must stop." Dore is the founder of SwamplandENT, an event promotions and planning company that also specializes in printing T-shirts and designing fliers. He also organized a Stop the Violence Rally and gun buyback in Village/Forest Green Apartments in December 2011 to celebrate Jearicka's life.
Dore said he and Gainesville resident Alonzo "Pretty Boy Lay Low" Brown, who used to organize the Sunday cookouts at the park, said from now on, the Sunday events will be dedicated to peaceful acts, because they want to help put an end to violence in the community, while also promoting peace and unity.
"We are losing too many lives, especially young people, to senseless acts of violence," said Dore, "and we need to bring a stop to this madness. We need to re-institute the quality of life that we used to have in our community."
Speakers at the rally will include Dore, Gainesville Police Department Chief Tony Jones; Rose Fagler, community relations manager of Plum Creek, the largest private landowner in the U.S.; Gigi Simmons, president of the Porters Community Neighborhood Organization; Jearick Mack and Trenesha Thomas, Jearicka's parents, and Mark Marshall of Starke, who will talk about losing a loved one to a "senseless act of violence."
Dore said although most of the speakers will talk about violence in the community and how it impacts the lives of others, Fagler will talk about what is possible in the future for east Gainesville.
"She is going to talk about the plans to bring more economic development to our community that we can benefit from," Dore said.
Simmons, who has seen violent crime in the Porters community decrease drastically over the last few years, said "unity and togetherness" will be the overwhelming message during her remarks.
"It is time for us to eradicate violence in our communities to show the next generation that we can all live together in peace," Simmons said.
Also, those attending will get a chance release balloons for loved ones who have been murdered and have their loved ones' names read out loud. Balloons will be provided, but participants can also bring their own. Food and drinks will be provided.
Dore, who was raised in Gardenia Gardens Apartments before his family moved to southwest Gainesville during his teen years, said anyone who wants to participate in the memorial should contact him on Facebook at SwamplandENT Love or email him at swamplandENT@ymail.com.
Brown began organizing Sunday events at the park in 2001 after more than a 10-year hiatus following the shooting death in 1989 of a Gainesville man at the park.
"I brought it back in 2001 to show that black people can get together without violence," Brown said. "I paid for the food with my own money and had the best grill man (whom he only knows as Mark) in town cook the food and we had music and just had a good time," Brown said.
Now, Brown directs traffic and parking and serves as a safety monitor at the park on Sundays. "I just walk through and make sure that everybody is getting along and that everybody who wants something to eat, gets something to eat," said Brown. He said there has not been an act of violence at the park since he revived the gatherings.
Dore, whose nickname is Love, served seven and half years in prison in 1992 at the age of 18 for aggravated battery, armed robbery and kidnapping. He said he wants to use the lessons he has learned to help keep others from making the same mistakes he made as a young man.
"I want other people to know that if I can get out here and do it the right way, they can do it, too," Dore said.