Student leaders Natalie Barden and Danielle Johnson chat with us about their collaboration in creating the National Gun Violence Prevention Summer Music Series presented in partnership with the Newtown Action Alliance Foundation. The music series will virtually showcase a variety of talented students performing different songs followed by a discussion about their experiences with gun violence and what the community can do to enable change.
Barden and Johnson are using the power of music for good. The National Gun Violence Prevention Summer Music Series is a bi-weekly virtual music series that will bring together students from all different communities. The music and performances will be used as a conversation starter for young people to share their stories related to gun violence in hopes to build awareness and enact change.
The music series began on June 18th, happening every other Thursday at 7 PM EDT until August 13th. The organization is currently looking for young artists and musicians to perform during their events. To be considered, fill out this form to be a possible candidate. The use of live music during the series was key to the two teens, Johnson spoke to us about the importance of music being involved in this project:
"It's one of the few unifying things in the world and especially in America. From people who use it after traumatic experiences, use it just to process, or just everyday music listeners, it's a way for us all to combine how we're using music in relation to gun violence. That's a good way to segway into a conversation of gun violence prevention, current legislation and stuff like that."
The teens use their own experiences with gun violence to inspire others to generate change within their communities. With the recent attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, shootings in schools have been an issue that has yet been resolved. Dating back to 1999, the Columbine High School massacre sparked an outrage from people concerned about the safety of the current gun laws. Barden, who has been directly affected by gun violence within schools, spoke to us about her experience and why it is so important to shed light on this topic:
"The Sandy Hook school shooting, I lost my brother Daniel, he was seven. I feel like that was a long time ago and we kind of thought that was a huge thing for our country and it would make a big difference and it didn't. And now there is shootings everyday."
It has been over twenty years since the first mass school shooting, yet there are no major restrictions on acquiring firearms. As this issue begins to become nationwide, the students are taking matters into their own hands. Newtown Action Alliance chairwoman Po Murray also spoke to us about teenagers stepping up in the fight to end gun violence:
"As an adult it has been wonderful to watch these young people share their stories of how they're related to the gun violence epidemic in this nation and just talking about how music impacts their life in the healing process, and how they are making a commitment to continue to take action, to reduce gun violence."
Barden and Johnson are a great example of how it is never too early to speak out and make change. Johnson shared the importance it is to be involved and start having these conversations early on:
"Being involved in any form of change at a younger age, it's taught me how to undestand not only how the government works but how our country is and the cultural barriers of our country. It kind of makes you understand how no issue is an individual issue, it's always impacting other people besides yourself."
For more information on how to get involved click here.
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