Editor’s note: Mary Snipes is organizing an Awareness for a Safe Community event to be held Saturday, June 1, at Junction City’s Heritage Park at 4 p.m.

By Mary Snipes

The purpose and vision of the Safe Community program is to spread awareness among Junction City residents and surrounding communities by sharing knowledge about suicide, depression, gun violence, domestic violence, bullying, gun safety, self esteem, drunk driving, child abuse, substance abuse, human trafficking, positive thinking, self-images, neighborhood watches and any senseless acts of violence. 

This can be done by sharing love, encouragement and praise in the process. This is something that has been in my heart for about 3-4 months, and I can’t shake it off as I informed my husband, Willie. 

“This got to be done, we got to do this, and the community need this!” I told him.

In spite of the tragic senseless act of violence we have, and are enduring by the transition of our son (Felix Snipes), and I don’t like saying the “d---- word.”

This is something dear to my heart, and how can we bring awareness if we don’t talk about it? We can’t push these issues under the rug; we need to create or come up with preventive and measures in order to have a good organize plans for a safe community. Once we talk, we share, we grow, we learn from each other as a community. We love, we know, and hopefully we can do better, but we need to try. We can do better. For example, you’re not going to fill up a glass of liquid knowing it’s going to overflow unless you want to clean up the mess. We are seeing a lot of tragic situations throughout our country that are senseless acts of violence, and we need a lot of love. We need to realize that children shouldn’t be heroes. Individuals are showing warning signs by acting out, displaying information on social media, talking or sharing information to someone, and etc. Warning signs are noticed, observed, and monitored before a tragedy occurs. If you observe warnings or see a concern inform someone, don’t say the words “I should have said when it’s too late.”  

Another example is, if you’re feeling sick you won’t have an appetite; you may have a fever, a stomach ache, or try to take care of the issue before going to the doctor. Let’s be proactive, observe, and collaborate. I’ve been saying that for a moment now. This event will bring individuals together and give individuals the opportunity to come, talk, and share their personal stories.  Some individuals will not be able to share their stories because of their traumatic situation.  I will be their voice or they may express their voice by art, dance or songs. Some people who will be attending include:

• Jessica Andrews (who was recognized as the makeup artist of the year at the KC Fashion Awards), who will be doing my makeup; I have never had this done before and am so excited

• Alex VanDyke from Manhattan 

• Rev. Tre Walker from Junction City 

• Yasmine Simmons 

• Anthony Medina from MidWest CarPlex in Junction City, and others 

I want our community and surrounding communities to be mindful of some sensitive stories that are shared because it’s hard for a person to share a traumatic experience. I will have individuals available at the park if someone needs to talk to someone because it’s all about love, caring, safety, awareness, and healing. There will be individuals from throughout our community and surrounding areas who will be displaying valuable information to the public and MOMs Demand Action will be in attendance from several locations throughout our state. MOMs is for anyone who wants a safe community. This is my first time preparing this event, and the outpouring of support has been awesome from MOMs, the Juneteenth Committee, and the Junction City/Geary County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

I would like to encourage individuals to wear orange on June 1 in honor of individuals who have transitioned due to senseless acts of violence, and the start time for information is 4 p.m.

If anyone would like to display a table or booth, they can contact Mary Snipes at 785-375-4007. A very special display will be shared with the community from the Snipes family during this Safe Awareness Day. 

Mary and Willie Snipes are also in the process of creating a foundation to honor of their oldest son, Felix Snipes. The name of that foundation would be The Felix Snipes Foundation.

The Manhattan MOMs have schedule their orange day for Saturday, June 8, from  8-9 p.m. at the Riley County Courthouse Plaza. Their illumination of the courthouse is at 9 p.m.

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