SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Protect Every Child hosted the first-ever “March for the Children” event Saturday in Salt Lake City.
“I heard about this movement about nine months ago, and I just thought that’s something I need to be apart of,” said Nikole Koch, who attended Saturday’s march.
Protect Every Child is a nonprofit association and coalition dedicated to raising awareness on and the prevention of child abuse.
“The first step is being aware because there are grooming behaviors that are noticeable and identifiable,” said Koch.
“Marching to end child abuse is really about spreading awareness. This is an opportunity for the entire community to come together and march in solidarity against something that unfortunately is so rampant in our society,” said Sam Young, founder of Protect Every Child. “Every kid deserves a childhood that’s carefree and full of promise. We hope to push the conversation forward and to encourage everyone to speak up and stand up for every child and use their voice to promote safe practices toward ending child abuse,” Young adds.
In the spring of 2018, Protect LDS Children held a similar, smaller-scale march and rally in Salt Lake City with 1,000 participants. The event ended with the delivery of a petition signed by 20,000 supporters to the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Earlier this year, Protect LDS Children expanded their cause to Protect Every Child, regardless of religious affiliation, to raise public awareness about all forms of child abuse and to educate communities and organizations on how to prevent.
“As the country continues to be rocked by child sex abuse scandals on a massive scale, we will not sit on our thumbs and just read about it. On a massive scale, we will shout from the mountain tops for this horror to end. It’s up to us. Not the media. Not any church hierarchy. Not the government. Us,” said Young.
Individuals of all ages and organizations were invited to participate in the march and rally.