MIAMI (WSVN) - A group of Miami students is looking to start a movement using their voices to put a stop to gun violence in their community.
The group is collaborating with a Miami-based non-profit organization The Motivational Edge to pay tribute to victims of gun violence and raise awareness.
The video, entitled “Stop the Violence,” was filmed in neighborhoods with high crime rates, including Brownsville, Allapattah and Liberty City — many of which students call home.
“I lost a friend not too long ago,” said student Rachel Pinchinat. “Two years ago. His name was Gabriel Figueroas, and he died when he was 16, closer to Christmas, Christmas Eve. He got shot in a drive by.”
The group uses the arts to target youth in the community through several different programs including dance, music and writing. The founder of the program said it provides a creative and positive outlet for troubled teens.
“A lot of these kids are not engaged in learning once they leave the actual school day, and that’s unacceptable,” said The Motivational Edge Founder/CEO, Ian Welsch. “It’s our duty as educators, as professionals, as political leaders, as Dade County public schools. All of us collectively need to get together, sit around the table with these teenagers and these youngsters and listen to them and say, ‘What is it that you all need to be successful.'”
The group is hoping the video will spark change, following recent shootings involving teens.
“We need stuff like this,” said Desmond “Chize” of The Motivational Edge. “We need stuff like this in our community. We need positive messages, especially in the form of hip-hop, which a lot of us are in tune with, and it’s a major influencer in our community.”
The teens involved in the video hope it will encourage their peers to stay on the right track.
“Violence ain’t necessary. We don’t need to do violence,” said student Ryan Everett. “There’s another way to solve problems, and that’s basically what we’re trying to do.”
“I thought that maybe, when I get on here, people that see me, people that know me, will really get the word out, and they will stop,” said Pinchinat. “It really has to stop.”
In addition to after school programs, The Motivational Edge also provides programs to youth in detention centers.
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