Marshall Against Violence has a busy week planned in Marshall, with three different community events planned for Friday and Saturday this week.
The plans will kick off with the group’s annual school supplies giveaway on Friday, and also a community clean up and peaceful protest scheduled for Saturday.
School Supply Giveaway
MAV will host their 14th annual Boogie back to school supply giveaway Friday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Christus Good Shepherd gym, 612 S. Grove.
The event is usually held in Telegraph Park downtown, but this year’s event was relocated and will be a drive-thru event due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“During the event, free basic school supplies will be given away to anyone needing the extra help for the new school year, whether their child will be in class or work from home doing virtual learning,” said Demetria McFarland, MAV president.
No information about financial status or proof of number of students is required by MAV for the event.
“This giveaway will be a grab and go event,” McFarland said. “They (parents) will drive through, grab their child’s grade level supplies and drive off.”
Parents will be able to drive up to the parking lot, and tell MAV volunteers their child’s grade level, regardless of how many children they currently have in school. MAV will have some prepackaged bags, but if parents feel more comfortable with bringing their own bags, that would be fine as well.
Parents are asked to bring a grocery store style bag to put school supplies into during the event, and after receiving the supplies parents can drive off.
“We would like for parents to be as comfortable as possible during the transition. Those helping with distribution will have on both gloves and masks, they will drop the supplies in the bag(s) and parents can then pull off,” McFarland said.
The Conversation, a group spearheaded by Tasha Parker-Williams geared towards the beautification of the west side of Marshall and pushing for racial equality, will host two separate events on Saturday in coordination with MAV.
Saturday morning, both groups will meet at the community garden area located on Sanford Street at 7:30 a.m. for a clean-up event on the west side of Marshall. McFarland said that community members are encouraged to join the group on Saturday to volunteer in the clean up.
Trash bags and trash grabbers will be provided to volunteers.
McFarland said that members will walk several streets and pick up trash along the way until 10 a.m.
“The Conversation is working together with several non profit groups and private donors to help spruce up, beautify yards and do cosmetic repair work to homes for home owners on the west side of Marshall,” McFarland said. “The public is invited to help us on Saturday morning in order to assist with the trash pickup so we can all work together to help our city continue to thrive.”
Later that evening, from 6 to 8 p.m., The Conversation and MAV will host a peaceful protest and rally in downtown Marshall at the historical Harrison County courthouse.
The event called, “Black Out The Square,” is organized to show solidarity for racial equality and to take a stand against systemic racism. Those who attend the event are asked to wear a black shirt, a mask and to maintain social distancing.
“We are asking for those who are interested in righting the wrongs of this society to please stand with us and share your voice as we lead our next generation to a society hopefully without systemic racism,” McFarland said.
During the event, both groups will be circulating a petition for the removal of the Confederate statue located on the east side of the courthouse, as well as the Confederate markers on the west side of the grounds.
“The courthouse is suppose to stand and represent justice, not hate. Those markers and statue continue to boast the hate, prejudice and white supremacy of those who embraces the confederacy,” McFarland said. “Black Americans should have the right to walk or drive through downtown Marshall without being reminded of the hate which was geared towards our ancestors and the hate we are experiencing even now due to our demand for the removal of the statue and markers from off the courthouse grounds.”
The event is also focused on remembering and calling for justice in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean, Tamir Rice and Alton Sterling, among a number of other Black Americans killed in the United States.
“We don’t want additional Black Americans added to the list of lives lost due to systemic racism. We as a society, can’t keep fooling ourselves by pretending systemic racism doesn’t exist. Ask the parents or loved ones of any of the Black Americans that have lost their lives due to racism, systemic racism. It’s sad to know even here in Marshall, we seemingly can’t express our freedom of speech or right to protest without being called a racial slur and be intimidated with guns,” McFarland said.
McFarland said that anyone needing any additional information can send a text with their name to (903) 503-8718 or (903) 930-8783.