Bob Fickling figured that if all the things that cause senseless deaths were buried, maybe it would stem the violence in Bibb County.
Fickling and his Rhythm N Jazz Foundation Inc. sponsored a mock funeral ceremony, complete with a casket, on Saturday at Gateway Park in Macon to symbolize the 22 violent deaths that have occurred so far this year.
“We hope another family don’t have to order another casket this year,” he said.
The event held at Gateway Park included speakers from various groups and areas of the county as well as a balloon release. Twenty-two balloons represented those who have died, and a yellow balloon represented the hope that no other violent deaths occur this year.
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“The objective is to create awareness to continually keep it in their minds that crime is no good, and especially black-on-black crime,” Fickling said. “It should be obsolete. We know we’re not going to stop it, but we’re going to keep it on their minds, ‘you’re doing something you ought not be doing.’ ” he said.
Attendees were asked to pick up cards with various words on them, such as violence, black-on-black crime, domestic violence, hatred, and put them in the casket.
The casket wasn’t actually put in the ground this time. Next year, Fickling said he would like to do four mock funerals, one on each side of town and then actually bury the casket.
Cpl. Emmett Bivins with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office’s outreach program said that when he and others talk to kids, they emphasize the importance of graduating from high school.
“We say, ‘When you get that diploma, this is what we want you to think about. We want you to think about going in the military, going to college, starting a business, working for a company or starting a family, but we want you to start it the right way,’ ” Bivins said. “We talk about peer pressure, we talk about drugs, we talk about all the decision making that’s going to follow them.”
Although The Re-Past concert series Against Violence was to be held later Saturday at the park, it was postponed until Nov. 12 because rain was forecast to begin Saturday afternoon.