Concert to raise awareness of child abuse

WEIRTON — It shouldn’t hurt to be a child.

That’s the idea behind an awareness concert being planned by local musician and activist James Keller, scheduled for July 28 at the Weirton Event Center.

“I, and so many others, are so tired of looking at the news and seeing our youth damaged,” Keller said of his recent efforts to raise awareness of the issue of child abuse in the Ohio Valley.

Keller said he has seen the results of child abuse first-hand in the area and wants to do something about it. His hope is to gather area residents together to show those who have experienced child abuse there are people willing to listen and help.

Keller said he has invited representatives of Never Alone WV, A Child’s Place CASA and other organizations to take part.

There is no charge to attend. Gates open at 6 p.m., with performances beginning at 7 p.m.

“If there’s just one person, no one will take it seriously,” Keller said. “If we have an army, people will take notice.”

Among the musical groups currently scheduled to appear are Descendsion, After the Fall, 3fold and the Sound Below.

Guest speakers, including Terry Davis and Nic Taggart, also are set to take the stage.

“It’s about being the example, not waiting for the example,” Keller said.

Weirton Mayor Harold Miller, who has made child safety one of his priorities in office, is encouraging residents to attend the concert.

For three years, Miller has sent letters to officials in other local communities encouraging them to stand up against child abuse, and said organizations such as Comfort House have worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the issue.

“We’re making headway,” Miller said, noting law enforcement, educators and medical professionals are receiving increased training to better identify signs of abuse.

Miller said there also has been an increase in child abuse convictions locally.

Keller expressed his appreciation to Miller, noting the mayor’s efforts to help local youth.

“I give the mayor 110 percent credit for always stepping up,” Keller said.

Keller said the national anthem will be performed by Zack Taggart, and the sound system for the event will be supplied by sTg Sound.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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