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Livingstone hosting anti-violence event today

By Laurie D. Willis

Livingstone College News Service

SALISBURY – Dr. Cherése Godwin has become increasingly concerned about violence.

“When you turn on the news or pick up the local paper, one of the first things you hear or read about is an incidence of violence,” said Godwin, chairwoman of Livingstone’s department of social work. “It seems violence has been increasing in America in recent years, and not just in other places but also right here in North Carolina and in Salisbury.”

Godwin, who has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in social work, with a concentration in policy, planning and administration from Clark Atlanta University, feels it’s incumbent upon her as a social worker to educate everyone about violence. So she’s organized “Community Anti-Violence Awareness Day” in hopes of bringing a heightened consciousness to violence, its causes and ways it can be stopped.

Community Anti-Violence Awareness Day is being held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today on Livingstone’s front lawn and will be moved to Trent Gym in case of inclement weather.

To organize the event, Godwin coordinated with Livingstone social work students as well as Anthony Brown, director of student activities, and Dr. Fred Ford, chairman of the Department of Criminal Justice. She hopes Salisbury residents and those from neighboring cities will attend.

Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. said he glad to see his institution sponsoring such a worthwhile event – particularly during Homecoming Week when the major emphasis is on fun.

“Whether it’s directly or indirectly, we’re all affected by violence,” Jenkins said. “Violence permanently injures some while claiming the lives of others, a fact we all know. But violence also sends people to emergency rooms, which can skyrocket healthcare costs for us all. It requires some people to go to court, where taxpayer dollars are spent on trials. And violence sometimes sends people to prison, which breaks up families.

“Homecoming is a joyous time when alumni return to campus to reminisce and get reacquainted with classmates, when students experience a fun-filled week and when faculty and staff demonstrate all that makes Livingstone College so great,” Jenkins continued. “But I think Homecoming is also the perfect time to host such an important event, and I hope Salisbury area residents will join us.”

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website, in 2013 an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes occurred nationwide, which represented a 4.4 decrease from the 2012 estimate. Of those violent crimes, aggravated assaults accounted for 62.3 percent, robberies accounted for 29.7 percent, rape accounted for 6.9 percent and murder accounted for 1.2 percent.

Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins said he’s glad Livingstone is hosting a Community Anti-Violence Awareness Day.

“A lot of times folks make decisions to deal with situations out of emotion rather than taking the time to think about the right way to handle those situations or the consequences of not taking time to think about the appropriate way,” Collins said. “Unfortunately, when people sometimes react quickly … they find themselves paying a dear price…”

Collins agreed with Jenkins that violent crime affects us all.

“When people engage in violent crime or crimes of any type, not only do they pay the consequences but so does their family,” Collins said. “When people get in trouble and go to prison or lose their jobs as a result of their actions, their families are left hurting, embarrassed and trying to pick up the pieces.

“I’m very pleased that my alma mater is taking the initiative to have such an event and especially right here during Homecoming,” Collins continued. “We can’t talk about violence enough. The more awareness we can provide about it, and the more we can let folks know exactly how it’s impacting society, the better off we’ll be. I’m really pleased that my school is hosting this event, which I support wholeheartedly.”

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