Healing Temple Head Start “Say No to Violence!” march Thursday

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Healing Temple Head Start continues its commitment to ending the scourge of violence in our communities by sponsoring its 5th Annual “Say No To Violence!” march planned for Thursday.

“In the wake of the rash of violence in both our community and our country, we feel it’s important to do our God-given duty to stop any more incidents like Trayvon Martin and to reduce the impact of gang-related violence,” the Rev. Larry Lockhart of Healing Temple C.O.G.I.C. said in a press release.

Lockhart admits it’s a hard task, but feels the church and the community must pull together in order to make an impact.

For the last five years, Healing Temple Head Start has sponsored the march, which runs on Chicago Avenue between Cicero and Laramie avenues, in an effort to motivate residents, business owners and community members who live or work in the Austin.

“Every year with the march, we want to make a statement,” says Healing Temple Head Start Executive Director Elizabeth Lockhart. “Far too many of our children are falling prey to violence and far too many adults turn a blind eye. We, as a community, are not doing enough. We need to do something so our children understand that there are those of us out there actually who care and are willing to do something about it.”

The march is scheduled to coincide with the “Week of the Young Child,” an annual celebration created by the National Association for the Education of Young Children in 1971, which focuses public attention on the needs of young children and their families. It also celebrates those child care programs that serve children and their families, and shows how vital these programs are for the children in our communities.

“We believe that education, plus a strong community presence are significant keys to putting our children on a proper path,” the Rev. Lockhart said.

“But it has to be a community effort. The community has to work with the family of the children and for the families if we are to have an impact on stemming the violence in our neighborhoods.”

In addition to the children and parents of Healing Temple Head Start, community members will also participate in the march, along with representatives from CeaseFire, an anti-violence program that seeks to reduce street violence by using street workers and volunteers to stop situations that may potentially turn violent.

Healing Temple Head Start was founded in 1992 by Dr. Arthur Lockhart, founder and former pastor of Healing Temple Church of God in Christ #1, as a way to improve the lives of children in the Austin neighborhood through education. Elder Lockhart was committed to giving children the opportunity to succeed through education, and viewed the Head Start program as a way to start children off on the right foot.

The “Say No To Violence!” march begins at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of the Healing Temple Church of God in Christ, located at 4941 W. Chicago Ave. The march will go from the church, marching west to Laramie Avenue, then across Chicago Avenue, east to Cicero Avenue before returning to Healing Temple.

For more information about the march, please contact Charles Smoot or Tina Wilkerson via phone 773-287-6964 ext 3 or via e-mail at healing.temple.hs@gmail.com. Participants can also RSVP on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healing.temple.

Click here to read about last year’s event.

* Photo by Sarah Ostman.

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