Child abuse awareness rally set for Saturday in Parkersburg

PARKERSBURG — April is Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness Month in West Virginia and a rally will be held Saturday in Parkersburg to commemorate those affected and bring attention to these issues locally.

Parkersburg resident Anna Cunningham helped organized the first Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness Rally in Parkersburg last year and is helping to organize this year’s rally, which will be held from 1-8 p.m. at City Park.

Cunningham said the Rally at City Park will include local mayors, state Sen. Mike Azinger, R-Wood, Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who all will be speaking. Survivors of abuse and sexual assault are also scheduled to speak.

“What we are aiming to do is bring the Mid-Ohio Valley as a whole to stand up against abuses such as this and say we stand with the children and families against these acts,” she said.

There will be performances throughout the event, including Philly Slimm of Colorado, Billy Elson of New York, Pryce Pickens of Parkersburg and Shaeleigh Plummer Collins of Parkersburg, who will be singing songs related to overcoming bullying and abuse.

There will be a children’s activity tent, emergency vehicles and equipment will be on display, vendors and more. The Grand Central Express train will be on site giving rides to children for a $3.50 fee and they will be making and selling cotton candy.

A huge dinosaur that blows smoke from its mouth will be on site.

Food trucks, merchandise vendors, Westbrook Health Services, Birth to Three, and KVC foster care agency will have booths set up. The PHS Color Guard will perform the flags.

There will be a candlelight luminaria ceremony that evening at 7:30 at the pond to remember victims and survivors. All proceeds from the event will benefit Voices 4 All the Voiceless, a local victims advocacy group.

For more information on the event, call 304-481-8839.