Marchers unite against violence in community

Saturday's March Against Violence started at the Augusta Library as a silent walk but became a rally at Jessye Norman Amphitheater. The organizer said more programs will follow.

One year ago, Robin Fuewell experienced every mother's worst nightmare. Her youngest son, Brandon Taylor, 16, was shot and killed. Fuewell said she's struggled to cope with making sense of her son's death, and some days are better than others.

Wearing a T-shirt with Brandon's picture on the front and the words "We have his back" on the back, Fuewell joined about 250 people Saturday morning in the March Against Violence in downtown Augusta and shared her story afterwards in a rally at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater.

The march came one week after those accused of killing her son appeared in court.

"I sat in the courtroom and looked at those two boys and wept for them," Fuewell said, her eyes brimming with tears. "Something has to be missing in their life to want to hurt somebody like that. I don't understand them wanting to kill anyone. I want them to be punished to the highest extent of the law. But at the same time, I want to hug them."

The "something missing" is what organizer Patricia Hicks is trying to fill. Hicks organized the event in cooperation with Pastor Angela Harden of New Destiny Ministry. Hicks said Saturday's march was a kickoff to a movement of many programs.

"I'm a parole officer," Hicks said. "And what I see every day really shows that these kids need intervention."

Though nothing has been finalized, Hicks said plans are in the works for mentoring programs and a 24-hour refuge where people can come in off the streets and feel safe.

Many carried posters during the quiet walk, which began in front of the Augusta Library, went up Eighth Street, and became a rally at the amphitheater.

There, Leroy Crew lead the crowd in "Stop the violence" chants, pastors Cornell Harris, and Jonavan Harris spoke and church music groups performed.

"I think it's great," Anthony Wade said. "I came because of all the violence that's been going on around here. It needs to stop. And if not me, then somebody's got to do it."