Advocate says peace requires more than focus on Zimmerman acquittal

Posted at 12:10 AM, Jul 16, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Last week we introduced you to Richmond family grieving thesenseless killing of 18 year old Jett Higham.

"He was a huge dreamer, he was just a dreamer," said Higham’s mother Toni-Leslie James.

He was walking to a store in Jackson Ward to purchase candy when a robbery attempt gone badly took his life.

"The grief and pain that we are feeling has no limits it has no bounds,” said James.

As peace advocates like Adria Scharf watch the world respond to the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case, they see an opportunity for reflection not just for national victims like Martin but for local ones like Higham.

"That case was a true tragedy," said Scharf.

As hundreds packed the steps of the Richmond courthouse in peaceful protest, Scharf, who runs the Richmond Peace Education Center, says there’s a need more than ever to broaden the conversation, to talk about peace.

"We as a community as a larger society need to be addressing the underlying roots of violence, the disparities, the divisions," she said.

Scharf teaches ways to avoid responding with violence at the center, and while she feels those are useful tools--a good place to start--the real effort starts with a community that cares passionately about every life lost to senseless violence, she says it happens all the time in our backyard.

"We need a much higher level of outrage, it's unacceptable, people should be paying attention," said Scharf.

Click on the video for the full report.