Get out and Do Som’ um Nah!

Do
Som’um Nah, a youth-oriented event to protest violence, will be held Saturday,
3 July at the John A. Cumber Playfield from 3 to 9pm.

The
event will kick off with a peaceful march from Heritage Square to the John A.
Cumber Playfield at 3pm, followed by an evening of music and entertainment.

“We
felt that as young people it was our responsibility to step up,” said Richard
Christian, event organiser and president of the Young United Democrat Party.
“The aim… is to form a platform to speak out on crime and to encourage young
people.”

The
event was inspired by Dorlisa Ebanks, the mother of 4-year-old Jeremiah Barnes
who was a victim of recent violence. Ms Ebanks approached Mr. Christian at a
YUDP meeting a week after her son was killed by gunfire in the backseat of a
car, hoping to organise a march.

“I
wanted something in remembrance of my son, and I thought that a march would be
good,” she said, adding: “If I, the mother of Jeremiah, who just lost him, can
stand up and make a difference, then other people can too.”

Angelita
McLean, a family friend of Ms Ebanks, said the march would be a peaceful way
for members of the community to form a united front against violence.

“We
need to stop standing by and being silent,” she said.

While
the march will highlight the community response to recent violence, the music
and entertainment portion of the event will put a spotlight on young role
models.

The
event will include live performances by ThE iZ and feature special guest Jniice
from the Beat 96 in Chicago.

Speakers
will include several young community leaders, including Youth Pastor Felix
Manzanares, 2010 Young Caymanian Leadership Award winner Colin Anglin, boxer
Charles Whittaker, and CITN reporter Kenneth Bryan, as well as Mr. Christian
and Young Progressives President Denise Miller.

There
will also be activities for children, including horse rides, and fire truck,
police car and helicopter rides.

“There
are a lot of young people who think it’s OK, and some who even think it’s a
good thing, to be involved with criminal elements,” said Ms Miller. “We’re
trying to influence people to step out of that crowd, because it’s not a good
crowd to be in.”

Mr.
Christian said the featured speakers and musicians are examples of young
Caymanians who have resisted negative influences and made a name for
themselves.

“We
have a number of young people who are doing big things in the world instead of
turning to drugs and violence,” said Mr. Christian. “We need to get those
people in the views and minds of our young people, to let them now we have
young role models that we can look up to.”

The
organisers are aware of the power of positive peer influence and are hoping
that the event will be the first of many.

“There’s
a lot of gun crime that is going on, particularly in… West Bay, which is why
the initial event is being held there,” Ms Miller said.

Mr.
Christian expressed the hope that the events would eventually take place
island-wide and even be taken to Cayman Brac.

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