“I can change people:” Young people encourage peers to put the guns down

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Enough is enough. Put the guns down. STOP the violence. They're the feelings of many in Milwaukee when it comes to the violence we've already seen -- as summer is just beginning. And young people are no exception. They're trying to do something positive to put a stop the the violence.

Unfortunately, many of Milwaukee's young people have been impacted by shootings and violence in some way -- but they're trying to make their voices heard to put a stop to what they call "unnecessary" violence.

With signs and their own voices, teens from the Westside Academy 2 on Milwaukee's west side are trying to unite their community and get people talking about violence.

On Wednesday, June 4th, they took their message to the streets.

"We just want to make the world a better place around this community," Joseph Keith said.

14-year-old Keith has seen the effect of violence up close.

"It`s horrible. When you see someone getting shot, it feels like, like you`ll be scarred for life," Keith said.

Shootings have changed the way 13-year-old Shaniya Stevens lives her life.

"I don't go outside now," Stevens said. "I'll just stay in the house because you don't know what is happening if you just walk outside. You'd probably get shot or something."

Stevens says violence has had such an impact on her, she's using her voice to try to get her peers to put the guns down.

"It`s changed a couple of people and then those people can keep on passing it on and then eventually we`ll change a lot," Stevens said.

Stevens is a middle schooler who participates in Serve2Unite.

The group hosted a meeting on Wednesday -- where teens from across the city came together to talk about causes and solutions to gun violence.

"They`re going to get the chance to present them to the adults and say 'this is what we think should happen,'" Jennifer Koss, an eighth-grade teacher at Westside Academy II said.

"What we`re hoping tonight is that the kids get that outlet to start telling their stories -- to start sharing their stories to connect with other kids," Koss said.

"I`m excited for it because, you know, I guess I can change people," Stevens said.

Many of these young people say they have been extremely affected by the playground shooting that left 10-year-old Sierra Guyton seriously injured. They say they want to make sure children feel safe when they're playing outside.

CLICK HERE to visit the "Put the Guns Down - Milwaukee" Facebook page.

6 comments

  • cynic

    Better make sure they also put down knives, bats, pipes, pointy sticks, rocks, broken bottles, unbroken bottles, chains, hammers, and stun guns. And for good measure cut off their hands. No knockout/hi-lite games that way. Or have we forgotten that already?

  • JDB

    Right on, cynic. After the two Waukesha girls stabbed their friend the local media has been focusing on the “creepy pasta” website, and the “slenderman” persona. Not one has mentioned the rampant availability of knives, nor the need to enact laws restricting how many knives a person can own. If was a firearm that had been used in this sick crime, the brainwashed narrative of the local media would be totally different.

  • dancing in the ruins

    also put down the rap music, video games, drugs, earrings, basketballs, spinning rims and pick up some school books. then read them.

  • Dirk

    Where is most of the gun violence happening in Milwaukee, the same place most infant deaths happen and the same place where there are the most welfare recipients in the state and the highest crime rate in the state. Maybe we need to stop the handouts, educate, and have them become productive members of society instead of what we have now. Let’s give that a try for the next 50 years it couldn’t get any worse.

  • educated one

    Could all those educated people who support this kindly put your money where your mouth is and post a Large sign outside your houses indicating…WE DO NOT HAVE GUNS, NO GUNS ALLOWED INSIDE… I would bet on “your life” that those law abiding FELONS would not enter your establishment. Please let me know in a year how that goes…

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