PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) - The Non-violence Youth Summit celebrated its 11th year on Friday, when parents and children marched through Pine Bluff saying "no" to violence.
"I'm walking to stop this violence in these streets," said teenager Erik Washington.
Sponsored by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and the Department of Human Services, the summit travels to different parts of the state each year. This year, it drew teenagers from as far as Jonesboro and El Dorado.
"We've come a long way today from what Dr. King was advocating for, and we still have a long way to go," said Tracy Martin.
Martin lost his son Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teen who was shot and killed, nearly two years ago.
"As long as I got breath in my body, you guys that are fatherless will always have a father in me," he assured the teens.
In crime-plagued communities like Pine Bluff, community members know some mothers who hae had to bury their sons.
"He walked out the store and got shot five times," said Shirley Randle about her teenage son, who was killed in 2009.
"There have been 809 days since the death of Trayvon," Martin said. "I think what keeps me going is speaking to the youth as we did today."
He encouraged them to start making small changes in their lives and not running away from responsibility.
"I'm really afraid of them having that lack of education, feeling as if they are a statistic, you know every child is valuable," said DuShun Scarbrough, Executive Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. "Everyone has that ability to reach beyond his starting point and matriculate in all endeavors."