UCC Staff Members Participate in South 17th Street School ‘Peace Walk,’ Help Raise Anti-Violence Awareness in Newark

Impassioned calls for anti-violence echoed throughout Newark’s West Ward neighborhood on Jan. 30 as students from South 17th Street Elementary School marched through the streets as part of a “Peace Walk” demonstration organized by the school’s administration. 

The Peace Walk, aimed at raising awareness around anti-violence, took the students and faculty through the streets of the West Ward as they hollered and chanted in unison, “We want peace!” With their picket signs in-hand, the students marched as onlookers and motorists in the community stopped to watch and vocalize their support for the youngsters’ calls for anti-violence.   

Joining the students in solidarity with their march were two staff members from United Community Corporation’s Youth Family and Senior Services Department, Charles Mainor and Christian Marsette. As the students weaved through the neighborhood, Mainor and Marsette walked alongside them to show their support and ensure their safety. 


For Mainor, a supervisor for UCC’s Community-based Violence Intervention Program, participating in the demonstration felt part of larger responsibility in his role at the agency to help curb violence in the community he serves.

“It was a beautiful event, and it meant a lot to UCC to come out here today and help escort the children around the community,” Mainor said. “We want to do anything we can to help our youth spread the important message of peace and stand up against violence in our community.” 


The participation of UCC's staff members in the Peace Walk underscored the organization's dedication to supporting initiatives that promote community well-being. By lending their efforts and support to the demonstration, they not only demonstrated unity with the school but also exemplified the importance of active engagement in addressing social issues. Another familiar face at the Peace Walk from the UCC family was Jamila Colin, who continues her involvement with the agency during the summer. During the school year, she serves as one of two vice principals at South 17th Street School. Colin, who organized the Peace Walk with the school’s vice principal, Qadriyyah Williams, and principal, Clarence Allen, said she felt that against the backdrop of recent concerns about safety and security in the West Ward, it was important for students and faculty to voice their support for a safe environment for all residents. 

“The message today is peace,” she said. “With all the dangers in our community, it’s important for us to come out together to spread that message.” 

Perhaps more powerful than the message of the walk itself was the participation from officials with Newark’s Department of Public Safety. Officers traversed on foot and motorcycles alongside the students during the walk as they helped redirect traffic throughout the demonstration to ensure students’ safety and joined in the calls for peace. One official who could be seen leading the students in chants for peace was Newark Police Det. Robert Moore. 

“I wanted to get involved today because we need to stand up against violence in the community,” Moore said. “Whether that’s guns, drugs or domestic violence, we’re here to take a stand against it.” 

United Community Corporation

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