Author Jason Irby is continuing his effort to bring attention and awareness of the contradictory stance by the sports leagues when it comes to the violent music or artists used to promote their games.
Irby’s second Awareness, Wellness and Choices Fair to stop violence took place on September 20, 2014 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The event was in support of Irby’s latest book in his Love Within Life Series: So, You Want to Stop Violence?
Arkansas Senator Stephanie Flowers, whose office was the location for the event, believes in the man behind the cause.
“When he puts his mind and effort in it, he gets things done,” she said. “I admire him for that and feel fortunate to know him. He makes things happen. He has that energy. He’s going to accomplish what he sets out to do. The event will be a positive thing. We will see a difference because of it,” she said.
Irby continued his quest to bring the awareness of the need for such pressure with his second event this year. The first event took place at the William F. Laman Library in North Little Rock, Arkansas on June 14th. The event featured presentations by several community leaders, including representatives from the City of North Little Rock’s police and fire departments and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
It’s the effect of violence that Irby wants to shed light on as he offers youth alternative choices for their lives. With his book and his actions, the author endorses to young people an option of wellness, which is a healthy state of being.
These choices are not found in some hip-hop music and are not made by some professional athletes, but choices that Senator Flowers agrees should be available to the youth locally here in Arkansas.
“We need to be engaged as he’s (Irby) trying to be engaged,” Flowers said. “Our leadership should be involved, the agencies, and more importantly, it’s just about communication and information being disseminated and offered to people. Give people choices.”
On September 14, 2014, the University of Arkansas of Pine Bluff’s (UAPB) campus departments and organizations joined the effort.
UAPB’s mentoring organizations Black Male Achievers (BMA) and Essence of a Woman (EOAW) were an impressive presence. They displayed the beauty and energy of youth along with wisdom and integrity of future leaders.
Alexander Watkins of (BMA) explained to the audience that young people do not want to be looked upon as violent. He stated that their mentoring group’s mission is to serve the community while being a positive influence to the youth.
Both BMA and EOAW visit local schools to give presentations to the students. The women in EOAW spoke and reinforced the message presented by Watkins.
Dr. Henry English of UAPB’s Agriculture Department presented an informational exhibit that promoted a career in agriculture as an alternative to violence. Dr. English stated that today’s agriculture provides a high tech and comparable salary which are far different from the previous image of picking and chopping cotton.
Deloris Burkett King, a retired teacher in the Jefferson County-Wabbaseka School Districts, now conducts workshops that teach the youth develop self-esteem.
Nyeshia Aldridge, CEO of the Jefferson County Boys and Girls Club, informed the audience that the Boys and Girls Club offers a facility with programs that emphasize character and leadership development in a safe environment.
Shannice Eans of The Raw Fitness Boot Camp said the state of wellness is related to one’s physical and mental health. Stress however affects all aspects of wellness. Reduce the levels of stress by increasing the level of wellness in the community and decreasing the violence in that community.
Senator Flowers ended the September 14th event by advising the participants and organizations to reach out to each other and decision makers to help solve the issues surrounding violence. She invited everyone to engage in the conversation by offering suggestions and comments.