Rally for safety in Palmetto

PALMETTO -- Rod Brooks said he is fed up with youth violence and seeing parents in his community drop the ball when it comes to disciplining their children.

His hope, which was given voice during a rally Friday, is to encourage people to keep an eye out for one another and to behave as one family.

“We need to put some things in place for these kids to go,” Brooks, 39, said during the rally, at U.S. 41 and 17th Street East. “When I was growing up, the playgrounds were full. The girls were on the swing set. You wanted to impress them by playing basketball.

“And once the street lights came on you had to go home. You knew to be home when it was dark,” Brooks said.

“Now, there is no remorse.”

As the day passed on, passing motorists honked at every changing of the light to signs with slogans such as, “You’ll care when it’s your child.”

“That’s all I wanted, somebody to notice,” Brooks said as a car honked as it drove by.

About 10 people attended the event. The ones without signs were carrying fliers with advice on how to handle problems in the country.

Kelvin Albritton, a father of five, said he hopes the rally encourages parents to step up and go back to a more old-fashioned approach to raising a child.

“There are too many black-on-black crimes and neighbors killing each other,” said Albritton, 38. “When we were kids, we’d fist-fight and the next day we were alright and we were at each others’ dinner tables like nothing happened.”

For Louis Goff, attending the rally was a simple choice because he is tired of the violence in the community and the mentality of some of the residents.

“You’re seeing them dying and going to jail for life, it’s sad,” said Goff, 41.

Brooks has a resolution for 2011, to have Palmetto residents start over and be bond by a scene of community and common respect.