Guns Down, Gloves Up Event Brings Awareness to Violence

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With more than 100 people in attendance, the Guns Down, Glove Up Panel Discussion made sure to tell the audience the importance of raising awareness of gun violence. The panel consisted of Black Ink Crew’s Ryan Henry, Chicago activist D Nash, streetwear designer Corey Gilkey, author J Prince, moderator Karen Civil, and former boxer and special guest Floyd Mayweather.

Guests walked in, talked amongst themselves and anxiously waited for Mayweather while listening to some jazz music in the background until around 6:45 pm.

D Nash came on the stage to share who he was and the purpose of the event, which was to honor people who have lost their lives to gun violence and raise awareness. He then introduced entrepreneur Alvina Alston, who also introduced various guests that came out as well as the panel. Some special guests included two family members of Emmett Till, WGCI’s Leon Rogers, and even “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson stopped by with her fiancé to take pictures after the event was over.

When it was time for the discussion to start, Alston introduced the panel one by one only increasing the eagerness of the audience wanting to see Mayweather. She even brought out the creator of the event, who was affected by gun violence.

Once the panelists were introduced, Civil asked each one a question about who they are and how they should be impacting their communities through their careers. For instance, Henry said, “I’ve been in positions where I haven’t done business correctly. From that, I had to learn from my mistakes to where I wanted to be a different man for my children. I wanted to be someone to be looked up to in my community [who] can inspire people around me. Create jobs for the community or even people who just need inspiration.” Along with that, J Prince said, “I think it’s really important, you know, as entrepreneurs being from the hood, once you make it, [you should] not abandon where you come from.”

Mayweather commented on how boxing and his family helped him avoid becoming a stereotype in the world of violence. “I’m from a small city called Grand Rapids, Michigan. The nickname of the city was ‘Gun Route.’ That’s what it was known as. My dad was a fighter. My two uncles were professional fighters, also. My father was in my life and I think a lot of youth and a lot of young men need their fathers in their life.”

Nearing the end of the discussion, they asked for a few people to come on stage and ask the panel questions. Even though there weren’t any questions asked, many talked about how communities can be changed through initiatives.

Later, Civil talked about how her friend was a victim of gun violence and then the president of the museum, Perri Irmer, presented Mayweather with a lifetime membership to the museum. The audience cheered as they both started taking pictures.

The event closed out with Alston recognizing the sponsors and everybody who helped organize the event, as well as a huge group picture with the audience and panel for Instagram. Once the picture was taken, jazz music started playing again as people rushed up to the stage to get pictures before the panel left.  Overall the night was a big success.

 

By Kayla Holloway, Sophomore, Morgan Park

Instagram: @_thattallperson

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