LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Stop bullying, stop the violence, and spread the love. Those words were a part of the message given to students at Thursday’s nonviolence youth rally at Stuttgart Junior High.
Students, staff and community members of Stuttgart were on the mission of promoting peace as they welcomed the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolence Youth Summit.
Focusing on anti-bullying, promoting unity, and making better choices, students took their pledges to embrace love instead of violence.
“On this day May 11, 2023, I commit myself as best as I can to practice nonviolence,” the student body said.
The summit highlighted using positive alternatives instead of impulsive decisions that could make a bad situation worse.
The speakers made things relatable for the students, especially the humor of comedian Keith Glasson.
“Shout out to the band,” Glasson said. “I played trumpet, shout out to the horn section. I didn’t play long but I played.”
The group also heard more serious stories from actor Lamman Rucker, known for his roles in films like Tyler Perry’s “Why did I get Married” and “Meet the Browns.”
The actor said his message comes from personal experiences.
“I’m always happy to come and shine on other folks and shine the light them and at the same time always do the best I can to encourage young people,” Rucker said.
Students like Kaniya Jackson said the summit was not only much needed, but the information also connected with her.
“Some of my closer friends have been killed sadly because of the violence,” Jackson said. “I kind of started tearing up a bit because one my friends just passed from violence in Stuttgart.”
Still hopeful, students vowed to do their part in keeping their community safe.
“I pledge to follow the six principles of nonviolence,” the student body proclaimed.
The MLK Commission says they plan to continue events like these in hopes of creating safer schools and communities throughout Arkansas.