TOWN OF WALLKILL — Organizers of "A Gathering for Peace and Unity" at Monhagen Middle School on Sunday want to provide an outlet for area youth to express their thoughts and views on the world.
The "youth rally for a harmonious tomorrow," organized by the Town of Wallkill Police Youth Coalition and the American Legion Post 1181, will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday.
"The idea of the peace rally is to give the kids a venue," said Jim Scali, representative of the American Legion post in Middletown. "We want to keep it on the level of peace, love and hope, not hate. We get enough of that."
The idea came from Scali, but students will speak, read and perform at the event, as musicians are lined up to entertain while student activists are slated to speak on topics important to them.
"I'll be sharing my story as a young, black girl going to Pine Bush (High School), being a first-generation American, coming from a single-parent household, love and harmony, and what being an American means to me," senior Tatiana Palacios said.
Pine Bush senior Megan Vinella will speak about LGBTQ+ issues and "promoting acceptance and love among the community and those who are around the community."
"It's really important to me as a member of said community," Vinella said.
Students like Tiffany Deckford, also a Pine Bush senior, want to "spread a message of peace" through the event and stifle negativity.
"It's inclusive, non-judgmental and it should be a positive, happy experience," Deckford said.
This is the first march of its kind here, but organizers hope it will catch on and continue for years.
"It's going to be something really good for the community and the area around us," said Gabriel Girault, a Pine Bush senior. "Hopefully it inspires a lot of the youth to keep this going and give the youth a call for action."