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Father of St. Pete who lost his son to gun violence hopes to educate young people with new initiative

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – A father in St. Pete is on a mission to make the city safer after his son died in 2019.

Marquis Scott was shot while riding a bicycle. Now he’s trying to gain traction for a new initiative he’s created.

Maresse Scott

Maress Scott and her son Marquis

“We found ourselves wanting to do more for the community,” said Maress Scott.

Scott has a big heart with even bigger goals. He wants to end gun violence in St. Petersburg.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” Scott said.

On September 17, 2019, Scott’s son was killed. Scott says Marquis was about to turn a new leaf and start classes for a business program. He decided to channel this grief into his community.

“I could hear my wife’s voice when she said, ‘Marquis would expect us to do something because we told her that being a Scott meant something,'” he said. .

Father of St. Pete who lost his son to gun violence hopes to educate young people with new initiative

Maresse Scott

Scott started going to the neighborhoods, asking the young men to sign the “Black St. Pete Pledge”. In short, he asks the person who signs him to withdraw from situations that could lead to violence.

“We’re going to the very people that everyone says they can’t be reached. And by the grace of God these guys have been very receptive,” Scott said. “You find out that they don’t want to die and they have concerns themselves.

Scott says this led him to create “Quis For Life,” an initiative with a play in his son’s name.

At Thursday’s city council meeting, he showed council members the program he would like to offer St. Pete students with a revamped pledge called “St. Pete Youth Pledge”. He hopes it will change the culture.

“It defies the no-spy culture. It defies fears and impresses[es] it’s up to them to take a stand, adopt a non-violent lifestyle and share their lifestyle with friends, ”Scott said.

Normally, sons carry on the legacy of their fathers. But Scott believes telling the Marquis story could be the spark that will spark change for generations to come.

“All of these people received the light that was in my son, it shines in us and by the grace of God we were going to make the change. We want to save someone’s life,” he said.

City council members told Scott they would like to put him in touch with resources like Parks and Rec and Pinellas County schools to get the word out to children in the county.

If you would like to help Scott’s mission, you can email him at


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