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Elijah Lee, a KIPP Gaston College Preparatory sixth-grader, announced to Roanoke Rapids City Council Tuesday his plans to hold the third annual Child Abuse Awareness March.

The march will be held March 7 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Centennial Park off Roanoke Avenue.

Lee encouraged council and the public attending the meeting to attend the event “as we come together as a community and support our young people.”

Said Lee: “Unfortunately there are young people today who face death and there are young people today who have to go home and have the fear of being beaten by their parents. I believe that as a village, as a community, it’s our job to be there for our young people.”

Lee said he would like to see as many people as possible come to the event “and band together as we say no to child abuse and to also tell child abuse you have no place in the town of Roanoke Rapids and that we are a community that loves our children.”

Lee is hopeful the third march will show, “We are a community willing to be there for our young people. Our young people need a village to raise us up to be a generation that is ready to fight against what it means to come from a low-income household or the stereotypes of what it means to come from a small town. 

“I believe that, yes, we may be from a small town but we still have a voice to speak up for what we believe in and that no matter where we come from every child deserves safety and security.”

He said the event is also a way to “celebrate our young people having a voice and to celebrate our young people using their voices.”

He encouraged those at the meeting “to take a minute to help and realize there are many young people who, unfortunately, will face death and there are many young people who do have to face the reality of being beaten. I say no more to child abuse.”

Lee also presented Mayor Emery Doughtie with a copy of the Marvel comic book drawn in his honor as part of the Marvel Hero Project and the featured documentary on the Disney + streaming service. The documentary is entitled Incredible Elijah.

Doughtie told Lee he was at a very pivotal point in his life, but said, “I have no doubt about the direction you’ll be going.”

Since the first two marches, Lee has not only been featured in the Marvel Hero Project but has appeared on the Kelly Clarkson Show and in other media.