The St. Martin De Porres community will conduct a day of healing and a candlelight vigil at the St. Martin De Porres Football Field on Saturday, April 13. The candlelight vigil will commence at the St. Martin De Porres field and a procession will then ensue to the Charles Bartlett Hyde Complex Building; along the way, candles will be lit and placed in the memory of those persons who lost their lives to senseless crime and violence.
Families and friends of persons killed are urged to come out and participate and to light a candle for their loved ones.
Activities organizer Perry “Sticks” Smith, said that the aim of the day is to bring about peace and a time of healing, to the community, after it has been ravaged by crime and violence. It is hoped that at the conclusion of the day residents will be emboldened to take back their community. Throughout the day, sporting activities will be conducted to foster positive attitudes and to provide wholesome fun and competition, in an atmosphere of peace and friendship.
Smith said that the Dean Street community will participate in this peace effort. The Dean Street community had engaged in its own activities aimed at healing, and the St. Martin De Porres community aims to benefit from a similar effort.
The community and businesses are urged to make monetary donations, to pay for the cost of the trophies, medals, food and refreshment. Everything will be free on the Day of Healing. Parents are urged to bring out their kids and watch them compete, and see the occasion as a day to spend together as a family and reconnect with friends, neighbors and community members.
Police will block off the area stretching from Oleander to Vernon Street, denying access to vehicles to enable children to run and play in the area. People are urged to assemble on the field at about 8:45 a.m. and the sporting activities will commence at 9:00 a.m.
The activities will include football, basketball, foot races, bicycle races, and dance contests. Trophies and prizes will be issued to winners of the events. The sporting events will conclude at about 5:00 p.m. and at 6:00 p.m., the candlelight vigil will commence on the football field. Father Matt Rhuel of the St. Martin Parish will conduct the vigil, and afterwards, the procession will proceed to the Complex Building and return to the field.
Smith said that the overall goal is for the residents to take back ownership of their community. He calls on, among other programs, the Apprenticeship Program to step in and step up to assist the youth to learn a trade to be self-sufficient financially. He is also calling on the business sector or whoever can come in and assist and work with the community to bring about the positive change.
People are urged to give generously, with money, food, refreshment, or even physical labor. Donations can be made to Perry Smith at 601-2342, Olga Gordon at 607-5440, or Anthony Codd at 605-1218.
The community is urged to make this day a success.