Raising Awareness on Gun Violence

Tanasia Patterson, Staff Writer

The children of SEBNC have a very great message to share with the community about anti-gun violence. The very talented Josh Xantas came to the Bronx to see the kids and give them his take on what they are doing. Xantas was pleased to hear about the kids stepping up, literally, to make a difference in their community.

“Academics are everything,” said Xantas.  He explained to them that if they get good grades then their parents would be willing to listen to anything they had to say. “I couldn’t go to my mother with a D in class wanting her to listen to something I had to tell her, I had to do better than that” he explained.


Xantas explained to the kids that you have to have passion for something you want in life. “You have to be passionate when it comes to following your dreams,” he said. This is very true. When it comes to something your passion will help you reach your goal.

The kids of SEBNC have just that.

Josh shared his words of wisdom with the kids. “It’s good to be a leader” he told them. You have to go against the pack sometimes in order to get where you need to go in life.

“Some of my friends told me I was dreaming when I told them I would make it big,” explained Josh. He knew he had what it took to get there and he certainly did. Being an artist, using your voice is the key when it comes to speaking to today’s youth. “The entertainment industry should use their voice to speak to the youth when it comes to violence especially gun violence,” said Xantas. That’s just what these kids are trying to do.

Xantas has a goal in life in which he wants to accomplish. “I want to build a school to show the youth how important the arts are” he explained. Through the use of music, dance, step, and other art forms children can express themselves in a positive way. In order to get through to others you have to strive. “You have to be willing to fight for what you want,” Xantas explained. He told the kids they have to “uplift each other and never give up.”  It is good for the youth to hear from those in the industry because it does make a difference. The difference of hearing from someone who has been where you were and had a positive outcome is a great thing for the youth.

Xantas had so many positive things to say to the kids of SEBNC. Hearing someone in the business telling you to follow your dreams and be passionate about your craft or idea. He showed them that anything is possible as long as you strive for it. It is also possible as long as you put in the effort. It is a good to see the youth trying to make a difference in their community. Anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it.

This is exactly what they did. On Thursday, April 21, 2016, the children of SEBNC had their first Town Hall Meeting. They invited their entire community to come join them while they spoke on Gun Violence.  Gun violence is something that has been taking over lately in many communities.” Today’s youth know more about gun violence because they are seeing it every day in their community,” said Krystal Monroe.

On average, 31 people are killed by a gun every day. Nearly 150 people are treated in the emergency room every day for a wound that was inflicted by a gun. The ages range from infant to 19 years of age. “These days people don’t use their fists or words they rather shoot over something so stupid,” said Shauneice Robinson.

The children of SEBNC are trying to raise awareness to make a difference. 90 percent of the children that attend the program have lost either a friend or family member to gun violence.

“One night I was sleeping and I woke up to a bullet hole in my window and wall, I happy I was asleep because the bucket could’ve been in me,” says Jalen Arzu, who attends the program. It isn’t easy trying to convince people to see things the way you do. For children to be able to bring a community together to raise awareness about Gun violence is something serious.

Nadia Vasquez told her story from her childhood incident with gun violence.

“I remember being outside with my best friend and we were just playing not paying attention to anything,” says Vasquez.  “We were running in the park and they just started shooting, I was able to run but my friend wasn’t so lucky,” said Vasquez through tears.

Gun violence is a serious issue that many people have to face every day. Imagine going outside and having to look over your shoulder wondering if you are going to make it back home that day. Today’s youth have to face that problem every day no matter where they live. People fail to realize that the things the youth sees on television as well as hear make a difference.

The Town Hall Meeting was also a live web stream where the children of SEBNC got to talk to youth from California, Atlanta, and New Jersey. They got to hear their perspective on things that were going on in their neighborhood as well. The children were explaining to each other what they go through on the daily basis. They see deaths all around them and have lost friends and family members to gun violence. Some of the children even went as far as explaining that some of their family members were convicted for inflicting gun violence on another person.

It takes a lot to make a difference in the community. The children of SEBNC got their message through to the community. They are going to continue to spread awareness on this matter.