It doesn't always take a million men marching to make a difference.
The greatest impact any one person can make in the community is to reach young people by setting positive examples and showing true concern, speakers said Saturday at a candlelight vigil held to honor victims of violent crimes.
Police officers, clergy members, community leaders and an elected official told about 35 people gathered at Hampton Park that area violence should be combated through intervention, accountability and discipline.
Dwayne Pierce, a North Charleston businessman and community activist, assured the modest crowd that "we don't need a million people to make a difference. One or two people can chase a thousand."
Pierce attributed his success to consistent guidance from his father. He said adults should take the time to encourage every youth who crosses their path.
"It's one thing to have a candlelight vigil with a group of people," Pierce said, "and not be able to track the effectiveness of what we've done. But, you know, seminars and vigils can be held a child at a time, a person at a time, a parent at a time."
Charleston City Councilman Robert Mitchell said it is time that the community shifts back to the basics.
Violence can be prevented, he said, if adults reach young people on their level.
"I stop on the corner and talk with them and try to give them some insight," Mitchell said. "Mr. Pierce is right. We have to do more as individuals. We don't need a big group."
The Concerned Citizens of the Peninsula/Lowcountry hosted the vigil.
Edward Jones, chairman of the group, said it puts on the Philip Simmons Basketball League each summer for players aged 8 to 29. The league helps keeps nearly 400 youths busy and away from any criminal activity, he said.
By nightfall, hundreds of flames flickered in the darkness in remembrance of those who died because of violent acts in the past seven years.
The names of about 375 victims were read aloud.
"We light these candles for a better future," Jones said. "That's the attitude we're taking into 2008."