HAMPTON, Virginia – Put down your guns, pick up the microphone! A showcase of talent giving the young people of Hampton Roads an outlet.
“In a neighborhood you will find yellow tape around an area one day and then the next day you have kids playing in the same neighborhood where the yellow tape is,” said Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck.
Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck said gun violence in Hampton Roads had become too common for too many people.
“Our young children are becoming numb to violence and trauma,” Tuck said.
The City of Hampton and the Give Back to Da Block nonprofit have come together to host a talent show featuring cheerleaders from Hampton High School and Denbigh High School to local artists.
“It’s time to get together,” chanted the high school cheerleaders.
Families appreciate the fun at ease.
“I brought my grandchildren here. My two oldest children lost their father to gun violence last May. I just want them to get involved in things to stop the violence because normally it starts at that age, ”said Barbara Jenkins, a Hampton Roads resident.
“We understand the concept of laying down the gun, of taking the microphone because a lot of our children are dying of gun violence,” Darrell Redmond told News 3’s Leondra Head.
Darrell Redmond, the founder of Give Back to Da Block, an organization that teaches young people life skills and how to overcome violence, encourages young people to use their voice through their talent.
“Realizing that words are more powerful than guns and bullets, so use your voice instead of using a gun.” When children are able to express themselves verbally, it helps them because they express themselves angrily using a gun, ”Redmond said.
“This program is not something I would have thought of, but we have a lot of creative minds, individuals who are more in touch with the community than I am. Thank you for what you are doing, ”said Mayor Tuck.
The Give Back to Da Block founder said he plans to take “Put Down the Guns, Take a Mic” to other towns in Hampton Roads to provide a positive experience for young people and reduce gun violence.