WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - After the Back the Blue rally in Watertown wrapped up Saturday, a small event started at Thompson Park, to bring awareness to child abuse and assault in the area.
Organizers say their message of #SaveTheChildren shows support for kids who have been trafficked and for abuse victims who may not feel comfortable speaking out on what they went through.
People gathered to collaborate on the mission and then headed to Public Square where they held signs to showcase their message to the community.
Volunteers and advocates want the community to have more conversations on what they don’t know is going on in their own backyard.
“I feel like this is something we can all come together on no matter what. It’s very important and it’s something that our community needs because it does happen in our home,” said protest participant Keri Chouinard.
“Stand up and raise awareness and stop the silence. It is not okay, pedophilia is not okay,” said protest organizer Tina Monica.
This event comes as news outlets like the New York Times report the #Savethechildren movement is being “hijacked” by followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
So what is QAnon? It’s described by CNN as “a baseless theory… Followers of the QAnon conspiracy believe there is a ‘deep state’ within the U.S. government that is controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles… and Donald Trump is trying to take it down.”
At Watertown’s Save the Children rally, at least one sign was spotted that references QAnon conspiracy theory.
We asked the events organizer, Tina Monica, if Saturday’s event was inspired by QAnon. She told 7 News that the group held the event on their own accord, but did say some of the people there shared the same opinions as QAnon.
“People need to wake up and stop turning a blind eye,” Monica said.
At it’s event today, the group was handing out pamphlets from The Safe Harbour Program of Jefferson County. It’s a resource for anyone under the age of 24 who may have been the subject of sexual exploitation.
You can contact program representatives at the Victims Assistance Center’s Child Advocacy Center of NNY.
Resource contact information can be found below:
You can also contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s 24/7 Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.