Columbia organizations to join 'Silence the Violence' on Saturday

Friday, April 27, 2012 | 2:20 p.m. CDT; updated 10:33 a.m. CDT, Saturday, April 28, 2012

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the time the break out sessions will begin.

COLUMBIA — In response to the two fatal shootings of 17-year-olds, DeAudre Johnson and Bryan Rankin, since mid-March, the Columbia Community Non-Violence Initiative has organized a community event called "Silence the Violence" for Saturday.

The event will start with registration and breakfast at the Armory Sports and Recreation Center at 9 a.m., followed by a silent march from the Boone County Courthouse Square to Douglass High School at 10 a.m.

A community forum will start around 11 a.m., once the marchers reach Douglass High School. Black Entertainment Television (BET) host, activist and award-winning journalist Jeff Johnson will give will give a motivational speech to open the forum. After the forum several break out sessions will start. Topics include:

Youth track

  • Substance abuse and violence
  • Street life
  • Safe sex

Adult track

  • Parenting
  • Raising leaders
  • Overview on gangs

An expo for agencies and organizations centered around employment, education and empowerment of teenagers will begin at 1 p.m. Some of the organizations involved are:

The Missourian will also have a booth to gather reactions from the event. Volunteer registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Armory Sports and Recreation Center, 701 E. Ash St.

Do you have a question about youth or gang violence in Columbia that you’d like to have asked at the forum?

Tell us what it is in a comment below or email it to us at, and we’ll give it to the forum’s organizers.

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