COLUMBUS — All Ohio middle and high school students are invited to the We Are The Majority Rally (WATM) to spread a message of hope.
Each year, Prevention Action Alliance (PAA) and its Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network (OYLPN) host the WATM Rally to lend a voice to the thousands of youth who don’t use drugs and make healthy and responsible decisions every day.
This year, that rally will be held Thursday, April 19, starting at Genoa Park before marching to the Ohio Statehouse. It has been made possible with support from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, Verizon, and OhioHealth Foundation.
Teachers and other adults who work with children interested in coming to the rally can register their kids to attend at www.preventionactionalliance.org/rally.
“Too often, we only hear negative things about our youth – that they’re drinking, fighting, or doing drugs, but the reality is that most youth don’t do any of those things,” said Marcie Seidel, Executive Director at PAA. “This false and negative perception of our youth works like a self-fulfilling prophecy and makes it harder for young people to resist the various pressures to use drugs – whether those pressures are fitting in, self-medicating, or anxieties about performing well in school or sports.”
Seidel said data from the Ohio Healthy Youth Environments Survey shows that 90 percent of students in the 7th through 12th grades did not consume alcohol in the past 30 days. For marijuana, that number rose to 93 percent. And, 99 percent of students did not use a prescription pain reliever that wasn’t prescribed to them.
“By changing the perception and pointing out that most youth don’t use drugs, we can create a different self-fulfilling prophecy, one that supports our youth” said Seidel. “We can change the conversation around drug use to support our young people as they make good decisions.”
“We hope this rally will build on the successes of last year’s rally, where almost 1,800 young people marched to advocate for youth-led prevention,” said Seidel. “We hope this year’s rally will be bigger, better, and even more impactful than last year’s.”
Prevention Action Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Columbus, Ohio dedicated to leading healthy communities in the prevention of substance misuse and the promotion of mental health wellness.