ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis man wants something all of us see on a regular basis to be a reminder – a simple streetlight.
The target is juvenile crime. “The battle belongs in the household,” Aaron Williams said, “and this campaign is to say we can win this battle one household at a time.”
Through a nonprofit he runs has purchased, called the 7th Grade Poetry Foundation, Williams has purchased billboards and bus signs that say “When the streetlights are on do you know where your children are?”
Williams said “It’s a grassroots approach of trying to return what is engrained in the St. Louis tradition for multiple generations.”
His message has caught the attention of stakeholders across the region – such as Wellston’s Mayor Nathanial Griffin, who remembers the streetlight rule when he was young.
Griffin explained, “We played football and if I’m going in for a winning touchdown – ball in the air – streetlight come on – I would rather lose that football game, let that ball hit the ground because I did not want to face my mom knowing I let the street light catch me.”
Griffin himself runs a youth basketball league to give teens an alternative to the streets. He’s currently working on renovating a gym and game room in their new city hall location.
Mayor Griffin said, “If we don’t have the safe havens in our communities, then the kid is on the streets until mom gets home and so it’s a Catch-22, but it’s definitely a campaign that needs to happen because it holds the kid and the parents accountable.”
Williams added, “That’s the rule in St. Louis and so over and over again – everybody said it’s all about streetlights. This current generation just seems to have forgotten it.”
The message is inside all 140 metro buses. They were placed on June 27, along with three billboards on I-40, I-70 and I-55.
The charity is giving the artwork away to anyone who wants to use it, like community leaders, law enforcement and any household. The attached jpg can be downloaded and printed out of any printer.