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Inaugural Showing Love for Our Youth Festival kicks off in South Memphis

Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 9:43 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2022 at 10:39 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Two Memphis organizations, the South Memphis Alliance (SMA) and Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives (FFUN), teamed up to address juvenile crime and provide families with a safe environment in South Memphis.

Sunday, the first annual Showing Love for Our Youth Festival was held off South Bellevue.

This kickoff came just 24-hours after news broke of three teenagers arrested for the death of a fifteen-year-old earlier this month.

Organizers are hoping this initiative will help embed their groups into the community and prevent this same tragedy among other groups of kids.

With perfect weather Sunday afternoon, several dozens of parents and kids made their way to South Bellevue and Walker for a day of fun and education.

“There is a hunger to get out and do more things with families, to have more activities and more events, and that’s why we’ve extended doing this event as well,” said Reginald Milton, Executive Director of SMA.

Milton and Stevie Moore with FFUN organized a similar event like this across the street during Halloween, where hundreds showed to a trunk or treat.

Sunday’s event provided families a safe and worry-free environment.

“To me, it feels safer over here than taking kids to the park, where something else is going on like other people out there with all the violence and stuff,” said Pamela Brown. “Here, we can just let them play for a couple of hours, and we can feel safe.”

“For a minute, I thought the community was bad, and I thought we didn’t have people to look out for us. I see now that we do,” added Tamera Brown.

Milton and Moore both hope events like this and further involvement in violent communities can steer more children in Memphis to the straight and narrow.

“This is everybody’s issue,” Moore said. “It’s not my issue; it’s not your issue. It’s everybody’s issue. We’ve got to save our children. We’ve got to stop our children from picking up that gun.”

With this being the inaugural festival of this kind, Moore and Milton are already planning for the next, much to the delight of South Memphis families.

“I actually rode past here a couple of times,” said Jothea Brown. “I never knew what was going on, but today I was actually like ‘Let me stop and see what’s going on.’ Now, I know what it’s about, so I’ll be here Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter... I’m going to be here.”

Both organizers say they’re committed to providing these outlets for families and also provide resources to communities to help fight the rise in violent crime in the city.

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