FOX PARK – A different kind of protest will come to four street corners on the north side in September, one that calls for accountability for the causes of the rising number of killings of children this summer.
Activists involved with an informal new group called Protest That held a press conference Thursday to talk about their plans to meet at 2 p.m. on four Saturdays in September to speak out about the violence. They’ll be at street corners in the middle of area where many of shootings have taken place.
Those who joined the group’s leader, St. Louis Youth Ambassador Cedric Redmon, were a pastor, a St. Louis Fire Department captain and a retired longtime police officer and leadership consultant.
Redmon, a hip-hop artist who also goes by the name C-Sharp, said the group had gotten the support of the city and county police departments and City Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards, as well as pastors and others.
“It’s definitely time that St. Louis starts to stand up, that St. Louis starts a community initiative to honor the lives that were lost of our children,” Redmon said in the news conference at Nexcore, 2631 Gravois Ave.
“We’re calling this movement ‘Protest That,’” Redmon said. “It’s not what it sounds. It’s not necessarily a protest, but it’s an accountability cause. It’s an opportunity for people to reflect and accept responsibility for the negative things happening in our community.”
Redmon said the four events would be opportunities for people to decide to be responsible for their children and accountable for their neighborhoods.“We’re going to start treating each other with humanity and dignity, and we need to demand resources to go back into the African-American community that have been neglected and that have been stripped from their resources,” Redmon said.
The first meeting of the four meetings will be on Sept. 7.
“Sept. 7, 2019, will be a day that lives in infamy in the city of St. Louis, because that is the day that we as citizens decide that we’re going to make a difference in this city and make a difference in each other’s lives,” Redmon said.
“We need people to save people from this gun violence,” he said. “We’re hoping that the collection of us galvanized people to come outside.”
The meetings, all at 2 p.m., will be held at Marcus and Labadie avenues on Sept. 7, Evans and Vandeventer avenues on Sept. 14, East John and North 20th streets on Sept. 21 and Wabada and Hamilton avenues on Sept. 28.
Those who stood with Redmon included Ron Johnson, a consultant with more than 31 years in police work. He said he was putting his company, Lodestone Solutions Group, behind the effort.“We have to do something different,” Johnson said. “Protest That really says that we’re not going to tolerate any more. It’s time for us to come out with a strong voice and talk about change.”
It’s also important to talk to people who aren’t willing to come to meetings, Johnson said. “Those people that we knock on the door may not open the door. We need to go out and have that conversation.”
Alonzo Adams Jr., pastor of New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, brought a spiritual view to it.
“Most people are probably from broken homes, and there needs to be some ministry to those families, and I think ministry not in the religious sense, but as far as serving is concerned,” Adams said.
Leon Whitener, public education officer for the St. Louis Fire Department, said his department’s firefighters and EMS people saw the results of shootings personally.
“We are where the rubber meets the road,” Whitener said. “It is our first responders that have to deal with the shootings. It’s our personnel that’s picking those young children up off the ground and trying to resuscitate them.
“This is something that we are behind full-force. We’re going to dedicate our resources and everything we can to this movement, because we understand the importance of it.”