On Sunday October 10, 2010, 5 wonderful KARA volunteers joined roughly 1000 others at the State Capitol for a March and Rally for Children and Youth. Dubbed 10-10-10, the first of its kind event organized by the young leaders of the Children’s Defense Fund and dozens of local, partnering organizations, was a whopping success!

Attendees were able to fill their bags with worthwhile literature, bumper stickers and activities and fill their minds with the wisdom and insight of speakers such as Garrison Keillor, Peg Chamberlain and Marion Wright Edelman. Following the rally, those in attendance were asked to fill out commitment cards stating that they will do their part to assure that ALL Minnesota children are given a fair start in life by informing law makers and holding them accountable for the decisions they make on behalf of children.

The event was conceptualized by a gentleman from North Minneapolis. Four years ago, Darrel Young brought his brother to the Twin Cities from Chicago. Intending to give him a better life than what he could find in Chicago, Darrel quickly became dismayed when his brother was slain just 4 doors down from his home on the streets of North Minneapolis. His 17 year old brother was walking home to his brother’s house when he was shot and killed. The next day in the paper, the headline merely read “Number 37” because Darrel’s brother was the 37th homicide in Minneapolis in 2006.

As a result of this event, Darrel pledged to honor his brother by being a stronger influence in the lives of young people. He began working with the youth leaders of YALT, Youth Advocacy Leadership Training, at the Children’s Defense Fund and the vision of the 10-10-10 Rally and March came into fruition. The youth created, planned, organized and led the March and Rally every step of the way; they will even continue the momentum by speaking at congregations and working with the 2011 legislature to pass into law issues that are of importance in the lives of children and youth.

Visitors to the KARA booth were able to watch a video slideshow produced by KARA, sign up to be on our email list and wear a bracelet displaying a fact about children that they were challenged to share with three other people before going to bed that night. The shocking facts stated on the six different bracelets included:

* Foster children are twice as likely as war veterans to develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder);
* 25% of U.S. youth in the Juvenile Justice System are tried as adults;
* 50-75% of U.S. youth in the Juvenile Justice System have a diagnosable mental illness;
* 25% of high school graduates in the United States are illiterate;
* Most states are growing prison spending much faster than higher education spending;
* firearms deaths of children in the U.S. are more than 10 times higher than all the other industrialized nations combined.

Attendees were also given a copy of Mike Tikkanens’s book, Invisible Children with a KARA bookmark that read:

Each day in America:

– 4000 children are arrested

-30 children die of gunshot wounds

– 4 children are killed by their parents

– 15,000 children are beaten, molested, neglected or watch their mother being beaten or raped

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amy.rostronledoux@yahoo.com

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