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Hundreds Pound the Pavement to Oppose Violence

May 17, 2009 — As the territory's crime rate continues to rise, Sunday's Walk/Run Against Violence brought out hundreds of participants to show that the community is ready for a change.
"The amount of people out here today is making the statement that we are all tired of the violence in our community, tired of our children being gunned down and tired of not being able to have the peace that we desire," said Celia Carroll, the event's organizer and founder of the local chapter of Mothers Against Guns.
Celia Carroll and her husband, James, lost their son, Jason, to gun violence about nine years ago when he was shot and killed in the middle of the afternoon on a street in downtown St. Thomas. Celia Carroll brought Mothers Against Guns to the territory a few months later and, through the annual Walk/Run Against Violence, the organization raises money for the Jason Carroll Memorial Fund. The fund offers scholarships to the University of the Virgin Islands for local high school students.
The two-mile race runs from the Coast Guard Dock downtown to Addelita Cancryn Junior High School and back. At the starting line, participants took an oath never to bring a gun to school or work, or use a gun to settle a dispute. The crowd was diverse, bringing out mothers, fathers, community leaders and many youth groups, including the JROTC battalions, Junior Firefighters and members of Charlotte Amalie High School's track team.
CAHS junior Kyron Correa led the pack Sunday, crossing the finish line with the best overall male time of 11:20. Teammate Ricky Gumbs followed a few seconds later, coming in first in the 16-19 male category with a time of 11:26.
While the two try to get in a little practice every day with their coaches, the condition of the school's track makes it difficult, they said.
"We just try to get out there, warm up a bit and do our best when we come out to these events," Gumbs said.
"I think we've been doing good considering the type of track that we have," Correa said. "There's not really an opportunity for us to do much at all during the season, so we just try to come out as much as we can and do our best."
At the awards ceremony after the race, speakers called on parents to get more involved with their children and asked the community to come together to spread a message of peace, love, and harmony. It's time for the community to break its silence and choose life over death, Celia Carroll said afterward.
"Change will only come when each and every one of us decide we want a change," she said. "Right now there's too much hate in our community. Our children are too angry and are looking for acceptance. Young people have turned to gangs, and once they get involved, it becomes dangerous. It means they're out there hurting people."
But things can improve, said Gov. John deJongh Jr.
"We care about these islands, we care about our children and we care about our future," he said. "And days like today we remember exactly what it's all about, when we see a family that can reach back and give when they've lost someone. That tells us we're all strong enough to move forward and that we cannot let happen what's happened to us too often — and too much this year — destroy our quality of life. To those that are listening, to those that participated, don't give up on us. Don't give up on the Virgin Islands, but most importantly, don't give up on yourselves."
This year's Walk/Run Against Violence winners:
Best Overall Male: Kyron Correa — 11:20
Male 12 and under: Kieyan Anthony — 12:32
Male 13-15: Rohit Gaikwad — 14:12
Male 16-19: Ricky Gumbs — 11:26
Male 20-29: Michael Rones — 15:29
Male 30-39: Michael Sheesley — 13:00
Male 40-49: Roy Rogers — 15:39
Male 50-59: Randy Shaw — 13:56
Male 60 and over: Randolph Gumbs — 17:47
Best Overall Female: Melissa King — 15:30
Female 12 and under: Hadija Hazel — 17:55
Female 13-15: Amarijka Isaac-Brooks — 15:52
Female 16-19: Janella Jones — 15:51
Female 20-29: Heidi Gonzales — 16:18
Female 30-39: Debra Hazelwood — 26:01
Female 40-49: Vickie Jones — 27:02
Female 50-59: Mare Ellen Coles — 17:12
Female 60 and over: Karen Bertrand — 35:05
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May 17, 2009 -- As the territory's crime rate continues to rise, Sunday's Walk/Run Against Violence brought out hundreds of participants to show that the community is ready for a change.
"The amount of people out here today is making the statement that we are all tired of the violence in our community, tired of our children being gunned down and tired of not being able to have the peace that we desire," said Celia Carroll, the event's organizer and founder of the local chapter of Mothers Against Guns.
Celia Carroll and her husband, James, lost their son, Jason, to gun violence about nine years ago when he was shot and killed in the middle of the afternoon on a street in downtown St. Thomas. Celia Carroll brought Mothers Against Guns to the territory a few months later and, through the annual Walk/Run Against Violence, the organization raises money for the Jason Carroll Memorial Fund. The fund offers scholarships to the University of the Virgin Islands for local high school students.
The two-mile race runs from the Coast Guard Dock downtown to Addelita Cancryn Junior High School and back. At the starting line, participants took an oath never to bring a gun to school or work, or use a gun to settle a dispute. The crowd was diverse, bringing out mothers, fathers, community leaders and many youth groups, including the JROTC battalions, Junior Firefighters and members of Charlotte Amalie High School's track team.
CAHS junior Kyron Correa led the pack Sunday, crossing the finish line with the best overall male time of 11:20. Teammate Ricky Gumbs followed a few seconds later, coming in first in the 16-19 male category with a time of 11:26.
While the two try to get in a little practice every day with their coaches, the condition of the school's track makes it difficult, they said.
"We just try to get out there, warm up a bit and do our best when we come out to these events," Gumbs said.
"I think we've been doing good considering the type of track that we have," Correa said. "There's not really an opportunity for us to do much at all during the season, so we just try to come out as much as we can and do our best."
At the awards ceremony after the race, speakers called on parents to get more involved with their children and asked the community to come together to spread a message of peace, love, and harmony. It's time for the community to break its silence and choose life over death, Celia Carroll said afterward.
"Change will only come when each and every one of us decide we want a change," she said. "Right now there's too much hate in our community. Our children are too angry and are looking for acceptance. Young people have turned to gangs, and once they get involved, it becomes dangerous. It means they're out there hurting people."
But things can improve, said Gov. John deJongh Jr.
"We care about these islands, we care about our children and we care about our future," he said. "And days like today we remember exactly what it's all about, when we see a family that can reach back and give when they've lost someone. That tells us we're all strong enough to move forward and that we cannot let happen what's happened to us too often -- and too much this year -- destroy our quality of life. To those that are listening, to those that participated, don't give up on us. Don't give up on the Virgin Islands, but most importantly, don't give up on yourselves."
This year's Walk/Run Against Violence winners:
Best Overall Male: Kyron Correa -- 11:20
Male 12 and under: Kieyan Anthony -- 12:32
Male 13-15: Rohit Gaikwad -- 14:12
Male 16-19: Ricky Gumbs -- 11:26
Male 20-29: Michael Rones -- 15:29
Male 30-39: Michael Sheesley -- 13:00
Male 40-49: Roy Rogers -- 15:39
Male 50-59: Randy Shaw -- 13:56
Male 60 and over: Randolph Gumbs -- 17:47
Best Overall Female: Melissa King -- 15:30
Female 12 and under: Hadija Hazel -- 17:55
Female 13-15: Amarijka Isaac-Brooks -- 15:52
Female 16-19: Janella Jones -- 15:51
Female 20-29: Heidi Gonzales -- 16:18
Female 30-39: Debra Hazelwood -- 26:01
Female 40-49: Vickie Jones -- 27:02
Female 50-59: Mare Ellen Coles -- 17:12
Female 60 and over: Karen Bertrand -- 35:05
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.