Students protest city's security requirement for youth rally - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Students protest city's security requirement for youth rally

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(Source: Michelle browser, founder of the "I am more than" youth rally ) (Source: Michelle browser, founder of the "I am more than" youth rally )
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Students from all over the River Region have gathered at Riverwalk Amphitheater for the last two years for the "I Am More Than" Youth Rally.

The goal of the event is to encourage young people to rise above negative connotations, stereotypes and statistics.

The I Am More Than Youth Rally founder says she has never had to pay for extra security, but now she's being forced to.

It's a positive, uplifting concert style rally for youth to express their creative talents in the arts.

The city of Montgomery and the police department support the mission of the rally.

The founder feels these new fees are not being applied to every youth event held on city property.

With tape over their mouths and signs in their hands, a group of Montgomery youth showed up to the city council meeting Tuesday with a clear message.

Youth Activist and I Am More than Youth Rally founder Michelle Browder says their posters and the silent protest are a response to the I Am Youth Rally's new requirement of having to pay 20 police officers to man the rally. It's a cost that exceeds $5,500 -- money the non-profit doesn't have.

"Coming together and ending some of the violence in our city. It's a beautiful event and it's very positive in a fun and loving environment so we don't understand why all of sudden the influx of and the security. It's a very peaceful and uplifting event," Browder said.

Browder says there has been no disturbances at her youth events. Many local youth say this rally has helped curb violence with diverse interactions and positive outlets.

"This is an event that not only gives other people an outlet, but it also gives me an outlet to display my talents and also gives them somewhere positive to go because in this city it's not too much positive going on," Lee High School student Torrey Davone said.

Police Chief Kevin Murphy says it's the law for youth event coordinators to be responsible for securing uniformed security officers or police officers.

He also says there is a heightened public concern for the threat of violence due to the recent violence that has plagued our youth.

"You know we have to look at each event on its own merit. Her mission is very honorable. So I think if she can work us and find some corporate donors. I believe she can still have her event and keep it safe," Murphy said.

Browder says charging to enter the event will discourage attendance.

One option may be to ask for donations to enter to absorb some of the cost the rally is being hit with hit this year.

If you would like to make a donation to the "I am More Than Youth" rally, call 334-296-3024. For more information about the youth event, visit the I Am More Than website.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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