MARK PRINCE stepped up to the microphone during a rally in Kennington Park on June 7, to address some 5,000 youth who had just marched throughout London with a message of positive living to combat street violence.
“We are the answer for this knife crime — you, right here, the young people,” he said referring to his 15-yearold son who was stabbed to death in 2006. Since then, Prince said he has needed to love and to forgive.
“If it means I have to forgive the guy who killed my son, then that’s exactly what I’m going to do because I need some mercy myself, I need some forgiveness myself,” he said.
Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders say the event was sparked by violence that has led to 16 teenagers in London killed by guns and knives since January 1. The rally and march weren’t planned just to combat violence but to offer a positive alternative.
“Our message was clear: Live intentional lives,” said Colin Stewart, Youth Ministries director for the church in South England. Thousands carried banners with the theme “Living Intentionally Verses Existing” throughout the streets of London, which were closed off to traffic for the march. Adventist youth and supporters were accompanied by drill brigades and drum corps along the route that passed the Houses of Parliament and Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s residence on Downing Street. As demonstrators marched across the River Thames, people in Lambeth came out of their flats and shops applauding and waving.