October 13 may have been a cold and damp day, but the weather conditions did not stop over 50 youth and community supporters from rallying at the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club and Community Center. The group marched through the streets of Mountain View with homemade banners and signs calling for an end to gun violence in their neighborhood and throughout Anchorage. Several neighbors joined the march as it went through the neighborhood. It culminated with a balloon release in honor of victims of gun violence.
The youth leaders from the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club organized the event which included speeches and testimonials from local youth and civic leaders, cultural performances and pizza. Special guests included Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, Debra Call. One of the saddests moment of the day came during a moment of reflection where almost every child in attendance claimed they knew someone who was killed by or involved in gun violence. The most uplifting performance of the afternoon came from a 9-year-old performer, Lil G. His rap song titled “Guns Down, Balls Up” had a powerful message aimed at saving children’s lives. The song also provided the main chants of the march, “Kids want to live, kids want to live, kids wanna live. Put the guns down, pick the balls up!”
Immediately following the march, State Representative Geran Tarr and Carnard Davis, the teen coordinator at the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club, stayed behind to debrief. They strategized with the youth about future actions they could take to continue raising awareness and finding solutions to the gun violence, and other quality of life issues in their neighborhood. One of the core ideas that the youth agreed to follow up on was getting Green Dot bystander training for every kid and resident in Mountain View. Green Dot is a multidisciplinary collaboration of individuals, non-profits, and businesses that care about ending violence in Alaska. They are committed to changing the culture in Alaska from one that supports violence to one that doesn´t, and where every resident is expected to contribute to this change by doing their part.
Stay tuned for future actions by these brave youth as they lead the way to a safer Anchorage for all.
Mountain View is Anchorage’s most diverse neighborhood. It is home to about 7,300 residents of which Hispanics are the 5th largest minority group residing there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_View,_Anchorage
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