New Youth Organization Holds Stop the Violence Rally


By Ashley Thompson

A new youth organization called "That's My Child," held a rally to protest the violence in Montgomery. Over a hundred people met to remember the city's 36 homicide victims.

Many Montgomery residents know Charles Lee from his hotdog stand downtown but don't necessarily know his troubled past.

"I found myself at 11 selling crack, selling drugs on the streets of Chicago," he says. "Joined a gang, got shot at 13, then ended up in prison at 20."

It was in prison that Lee found God and turned his life around. Since then he's been a successful business owner and is now trying to give back to the community. He started "That's my Child," an organization that aims to keep young people off the streets.

"You are who you hang around and basically the point is to stick with the ones who are doing right," says Montgomery resident and singer Tavon Rampersant.

Rampersant and Nicholas "Xzavier" Kennedy are performers who tell us the organization helps them focus on their music and keeps them out of trouble.

"No matter if it's art, school, anything. You can do anything you want to do really," says Kennedy.

The names and ages of all 36 homicide victims hung on a banner, reminding those of Montgomery's recent increase in killings. Lee tells us he sees a little bit of himself in each victim.

"The difference is, a lot of them ain't making it out like I did," he says. "Some of them are dying right inside of what they're going through right now."

But even with the dancing and music, some tell us they wish rallies like this one weren't needed.

"I'm not afraid for Montgomery because I think Montgomery can do better, however I am sad that it's happening because it doesn't have to happen in Montgomery," says resident Gail Jackson.

'That's My Child' offers free singing lessons, dancing lessons and job preparation. All classes are free.

The group meets Wednesdays at 6PM and the Chisholm Community Center.

For more information, visit their facebook page. Just search That's My Child or call Charles Lee at (850)380-2378


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