“Sometimes you just have to pull the young men to the side to see if u are able to help their GROWTH”
If you happen down the Ave in CrownHeights Brooklyn or South Jamaica Queens you are likely to see someone with a Guns Down Life Up tee. The organization, dedicated to youth anti violence is making strides in local communities across New York City and their success is due in part to Twin. A Queens native, Twin doesn’t have the usual makings of a modern activist. He’s a Casting Coordinator for 50 Cent and former model so you’ll often find him on the set of a movie or video shoot or in the club surrounded by a bevy of Instagram models. You won’t hear him quoting Garvey or sparking twitter debates with Trump supporters, now bring up the state of Black youth in America and watch him sound off!
While most are concerned with government and policy, Twin subscribes to a boots on the ground method of activism. He believes that real change happens when you take action and address issues head on. On any given day, you can find Twin speaking at your neighborhood public school, participating in mentorship programs and organizing engaging community events like youth rallies, basketball tournaments and dance competitions. “Most of the kids I work with just want someone to show interest, ya know, actually listen to their thoughts and opinions. We build relationships with the youth. Once they trust you, the rest is easy.”
Gun violence remains the leading cause of death for boys and young men of color ages 15 to 25. Additionally, thousands of children and families are caught in the cross hairs. Twin’s message is simple, we must put an end to the cycle of violence especially amongst our youth. The organization takes a more proactive approach by exposing children to the likely ramifications of gun violence then educating them on alternative methods of conflict resolution. If you ask Twin, he will tell you he doesn’t have all the answers. But we’ve seen him in action, engaging with these kids and can say that he’s well on his way.
To learn more about Guns Down Life Up, visit their website
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