Local woman organizes Newtown benefit walk

Nation holds moment of silence Friday morning; woman promotes it locally

Published On: Dec 21 2012 07:20:04 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 21 2012 10:00:39 AM EST
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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -

The power of social media has helped one local woman organize a benefit to honor and recognize the people killed in Newtown.

On Friday morning, at least 60 people gathered at the Jacksonville Beach pier for a prayer service and short walk.

Anyone was invited to participate in "Walk 27." It was a worldwide movement encouraging people to gather and walk this morning in honor of the 27 people killed in Newtown.

Using Facebook, Celeste Ayers felt compelled to make sure people in Jacksonville have a chance to take part in it. She has a 5-year-old son and the tragedy touched close to home for her.

"My son's about to start school, and I can't protect him 24/7, so it's extremely important to me," Ayers said.

Thinking about what the parents who lost children in Newtown are going through, still brings Ayers to tears.

"If we don't take accountability and we don't take notability it's going to keep happening and it's not guns that are killing people," Ayers said. "It's people and we've got to take issue with that."

To draw some attention and spark change, Ayers organized a local walk and invites the community out Friday morning.

"There was a national call out that was on Facebook and when I saw it, it kind of tugged at my heart," Ayers said. "I thought that's a great way to show our support and so I just quickly made a page. It was Sunday night.

Seventy people confirmed they would be at the pier Friday morning.

Ayers asks people to arrive at 9:15 a.m. for a short prayer and moment of silence. Then the group walked together starting at 9:30 a.m. for 27 minutes, symbolic of the 27 people killed in Newtown a week ago Friday.

Several walks simultaneously took place nationwide.

"I was hoping that maybe bosses would be nice enough to let the employees go for about 30 minutes or so," Ayers said. "Let them come down and participate in the walk."