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‘Funeral Is Canceled’

Anti-violence program Saturday at ECHS

News Staff Writer

Teach 1 Reach 1 Organization, under the local sponsorship of Dr. Michael Arnold, the Escambia County Commission and the Yellow Hat Society of Atmore, will bring Pastor Lawrence Levy III and his “HEAL (Mr. The Funeral Is Canceled)” anti-violence program to Atmore this Saturday, June 29.
The rally will get under way at 4 p.m. at Herbert Barnes Field, on the campus of Escambia County High School.
Karean Reynolds, who represents District 5 on the Escambia County Commission, said the frequency of violent acts in and around Atmore potentially make the program a valuable tool in the effort to lessen that frequency.
“This is much needed, especially for the young minority kids in the Atmore area,” said Reynolds, who is also a practicing attorney and judge of Atmore Municipal Court. “It’s a way to reach the people we want to. It’s not just Atmore, though. It’s Brewton, Flomaton, Walnut Hill, Frisco City, all the surrounding cities. It seems like every time we turn around, there’s a shooting. And it seems that nothing is being done about it.”
Levy, a Louisiana minister, said on his website he believes the program has had a positive effect in the areas to which he has presented it.
“I believe it has great importance and is very influential,” he said. “We’re out here trying to connect with the world, save as many young people and people in general as we possible can, from the dangers (of violence).”
He also says the “mini-movie” that is part of the program is a must-see, even for younger children.
“I thought it would be better to give them something to see,” he explained. “A visual is always better than (just) words. It’s about making decisions based on anger, or ‘life on the other side.’ The mini-movie leaves them with something to think about.
“It’s definitely for all ages. Kids know a lot more than we think they do, so why not educate them early on with the reality of some of the things parents let them watch on television, Netflix, things of that nature, that are ‘too graphic’ in the real world.”
The program’s underlying message is an important one, Levy said.
“Even growing up in a society or community infiltrated with violence, there is a better route,” he said.
Reynolds said it is going to take sampling or combining numerous different approaches to the problem of violence before any dent is going to be made.
“It’s going to take everybody getting together, coming up with different approaches, to fix it,” he said of the influence of violence. “I think it will be very beneficial. I think if we have a lot of different approaches towards preventing these issues, we may have some results … I think it’s a great idea.”