040919 anti bullying rally

People march through Edisto Memorial Gardens during the S.A.F.E. Organization's anti-bullying rally and walk.

A local nonprofit group took its anti-bullying message to the streets with a rally and walk Saturday, April 6.

The S.A.F.E Organization (Self-esteem, Advocacy, Faith and Education) sought to impact the lives of area youth with its inaugural event in Edisto Memorial Gardens. Shanika Aiken, the founder of S.A.F.E. said shewas excited about the rally and was passionate about the topic.

Orangeburg Councilwoman Liz Zimmerman Keitt gave the welcome speech, discussing the importance of children.

On bullying, Keitt said, “It’s a serious problem” that has been affecting the community for too long and that needs to be fixed.

“Children are our main commodity, and we care about them,” Keitt said.

Capt. James Green of the Orangeburg Country Sheriff’s Office said it is important to stop bullying wherever it is found. He went on to discuss how it has affected people’s lives and that citizens must be the change in their communities to end it.

“We cannot do this ourselves, we need you,” Green said.

Others spoke as well, discussing how their various groups are making a difference in the fight to stop bullying. Representatives of Hotep Protective Services, Open Mind Mentoring, SI Group, All In Ryderz, Cherish, Growing into Greatness and D.O.L.L.S. spoke out against bullying.

Following the rally, Aiken led a march down Riverside Drive, as participants chanted anti-bullying slogans. More than 60 people marched, with some bearing banners and posters.

Walmart, Hardee’s, and Allstate were sponsors of the event, Aiken said.

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Contact the writer: coreyadam88@aim.com.

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