Teen summit held with hopes of changing violent messages in music

Teen summit held with hopes of changing violent messages in music

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A day in Cleveland rarely goes by without somebody getting shot. And just this week, three teens felt the sting of bullets on our streets.

Families who've been victims of violence told Cleveland 19's Harry Boomer enough is enough. They came together today in hopes of finding solutions to the problem by talking to teens.

The famed O'Jays sang, "there is a message in our music."  For decades, violence has been embedded in the tunes our kids play. So, at a teen summit held at John Adams High School, hundreds came together Friday hoping to change the message and help save lives.

"Every day is hard. Mother's Day was especially hard being without my son," Jenita McDonald said.

McDonald is Dontez Curlee's mom. He died on Jan. 22, his 34th birthday, killed at a bus stop on Lee and Miles, stomped in the head until he was brain dead at 4:30 in the afternoon.

"I think that we all just need to come together and stop," McDonald said. "Just stop and ask yourself, how would I feel if this were me? I think this would hinder a lot of the violence."

That's the message of hope she brings to a room full of teens today. Dontez's sister, Jaquetta, was there too.

"It has impacted everyone wholeheartedly, unexpected thinking it could never happen to me," Jaquetta said. "Our family has pretty much came involved in the community."

"We like girls. We played sports. We sang to have fun," Dennis Cash, music producer and promoter, said.

Cash put this teen summit together to change the tune and the message.

"We didn't wake up today to see if I can hurt you, hurt her and destroy her life or anybody else's lives," Cash said. "All this can change if y'all make it change."

Tiyna Scott is a 9th grader at John Adams.

"I need to be aware and I just want to help to stop it," she said.

Clinton White is student body president John Adams High.

"Some of the artists today that youth listen to promotes a lot of violence," White said. "One thing that I believe is just take it a different way. Listen to somebody else."

Charles Jenkins wanted to kill those who gunned his son down in cold blood.

"Something said, why are you sitting here? You feel the pain that you're feeling, why would I want to inflict that same pain that I'm feeling on their family members. So, I had to think about what I was about to do."

Of the 300 teens at today's summit, only six stood when asked if they don't know anyone personally affected by violence.

There is a Survivors of Violence Concert from 7 until 10 Friday at Cleveland State University. More events are planned for Saturday also at CSU.

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