More than 100 students marched from the Douglas County Courthouse to Stewart Park in Roseburg Wednesday afternoon, carrying American flags and signs with messages like “Peace, love, equality,” “Thank you troops,” and “Partnership.”
As part of Wolf Creek Job Corps’ week of events to promote peace and prevent violence in the community, these students were celebrating International Peace Day with a three-mile peace walk around town.
“It promotes awareness in the community,” said Jack Dembo, the Student Government Association’s treasurer at the Job Corps center that is 12 miles up Little River from Glide.
Dembo said people can become so comfortable in their own lives that they sometimes don’t notice problems happening even in their own communities. He hoped the peace walk made people think about these issues.
Students Markeis Dabney and LaNico Davenport waved flags during the peace walk “to tell our troops we’re thankful they’re serving our country and we are grateful to the Americans,” Davenport said.
“We are serving the troops that gave their lives for us and this is a thank you for them,” Dabney said. The two added that they want to thank Wolf Creek Job Corps as well as their family and friends for their support and faith in believing in them.
“I’m definitely against violence,” added first year student Kelsey McCoy. “I’ve seen a lot of violence in my past and I believe strongly in making peace.”
In addition to ending violence and supporting peace, McCoy said the walk also brought up hunger and health issues.
“Even if you don’t want to take time out of your day to personally make the change, you can take a moment to appreciate and recognize all the good things around you,” McCoy said.
The week of events was part of Youth2Youth Partners 4 Peace, an initiative led by Job Corps students around the country to prevent violence, to discuss violence and aggression in the community and to talk about solutions.
On Monday, the students had passed out red wrist bands to raise awareness about their cause and they created the posters on Tuesday.
Today, they plan to split up into focus groups to talk about how the Wolf Creek Job Corps center can promote peace as well as the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals, which include themes such as ending poverty and hunger, reducing inequalities and reaching quality education and gender equality.
The week of events will wrap up on Friday with a picnic.
“I feel like within the past three months we’ve had so many tragic things happen within each of the goals and it’s important that people are reminded that it’s not over, it’s still happening,” Dembo said. “We don’t really have peace yet.”