"Correction does much, but encouragement does more." - Johann Wolfgang
With over 100 attendees, The Guns Down – Gloves Up Panel Event had a mission to raise awareness for gun violence. There is a belief, popular amongst gun control advocates that teenagers and young men are attracted to guns because of misplaced machismo. The Guns Down – Gloves Up movement encourages young people to get aggression out during sanctioned boxing matches to deter gun violence. The panel consisted of Black Ink Crew’s Ryan Henry, Chicago activist D-Nash, Entrepreneur/Visionary Corey Gilkey and Entertainment Mogul J-Prince, following Media Maven Karen Civil as the moderator, and former pro-boxer Floyd Mayweather as the event’s special guest.
I got the chance to pick the brain of D-Nash, the Chicago social activist who walked a total of 53 days from Chicago to the White House raising awareness about the effects of gun violence and simultaneously creating his activism platform. D-Nash goes by the motto “I helped mess it up, now I have to help fix it up”. As a former Chicago bred drug dealer, D-Nash made it his mission to not only turn his life around, but to be proactive and save the lives of Chicago’s youth.
When asked about the specific alternatives to gun violence, D Nash put emphasis on Conflict Resolution with creating opportunities and safe havens for our children to turn to instead of relieving aggression through gun violence. He also stated the importance of change starting right in the Chicago community and not relying on a celebrity to miraculously save the city of Chicago. Nash then ended his interview and left me with a quote that resonated deeply, “Hurt people, hurt people so we have to start the healing process.”
After the successful insight provided by D-Nash concerning GDGU, I made my way to Corey Gilkey to discourse the causes and effects of Gun Violence.
Corey Gilkey, a Chicago native who has made his stamp as a visionary and labeled as the "OG" entrepreneur of the Chicago-land area. Gilkey is the mastermind behind the urban-street wear brand Leaders, the owner of Boxville (Chicago's first street food market and container mall, offering community entrepreneurs affordable spaces for building enterprises) and now, restaurant owner of Friistyle.
With being a successor in so many avenues, Corey is also an advocate for the brown and black children of Chicago. He purposely placed his businesses in the heart of the city to relay the message of “You can do it too” and to place alternatives to gun violence. Gilkey is an innovator who aims to change the face of businesses while providing resources to underdeveloped communities with an aim to fight back by creating businesses geared toward the youth, providing jobs but most importantly, lending an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. When prompted on his forms of motivation and solutions to gun violence, Corey left us with a simple but meaningful statement :"Build, Provide, and Mentor"
Following the up and close personal interviews with D-Nash and Corey Gilkey was the panel. Greatly for me, I was able to sit and watch closely as all of the panelists engaged in the dialogue concerning gun violence. The panel began with an emotional opening from the event coordinator, Mekia, who was a witness to gun violence after losing the love of her life. She explained her mission behind GDGU and why it was so important to work together to change and save lives. Not to mention, there were two special guest in the crowd! The aunt and cousin of Chicago native and Civil Rights Movement icon, EMMETT TILL. WOW! It was the first public appearance from the family since the wrongfully accused and tragic killing of the late Emmett Till. The room was floored with respect and grace for the family.
After the introduction of Karen Civil, Mayweather and the rest of the acclaimed panelists, the debate of gun violence went down! Gun violence is an ongoing and controversial topic that’s fueled by passion, emotion, and personal experiences so it was inevitable that this topic would become quite heated! Nonetheless, each panelist provided well thought out conflict resolutions to gun violence leaving the audience satisfied and ready to save the world! It was a captivating moment to see each person come together to use their platforms as a way to help create a change among the different communities that we live in. Guns Down -- Gloves Up left me feeling inspired and ready to join the movement!