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Non-violence activist meets students in Gadsden

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 9:35 PM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2022 at 10:57 PM CDT
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GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - City leaders met with students at Gadsden City High School to show students people care and want to see them become successful.

Activist Joseph Cole came up with the idea to visit schools in Gadsden after a recent increase in violence amongst teenagers and young adults.

“We want to let these kids know that we do care for them,” says Cole. “We love them and the dangers of the gun violence. Because in my conversation with kids a number of these young kids have held pistols and also have fired pistols and that’s just not okay. It’s not a good thing at their age.”

Examples like these are one of the reasons why Gadsden City Schools superintendent Tony Reddick believes it was important to have speakers share stories and show that they can relate to and help students.

“I’m very personable and personal with our students,” said Reddick. “I want to make sure that they know that I’m just a regular human being who has perhaps advanced to a certain level of education or employment-wise. And that they have the same opportunity to do that.”

Students are hopeful after today’s meeting their classmates understand they can go to an adult when they are having a problem and they hope this will decrease the violence they’ve seen recently.

These meetings will continue at other schools in Gadsden later this week.

Reddick says he doesn’t want this to be a one-time thing. He’d like to have these meetings each school year. He’s hopeful it will spark a positive change in the schools and the community.

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