Former athlete uses hip hop to bridge gap in urban communities

ACTIVIST WORKING WITH GANG MEMBERS

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - One Cleveland Native is doing all he can to help break down the territorial color barrier in urban communities.

Former athlete, Walter Patton has lived in the Outhwaite Community now his entire life.

“I’m 31 years of age. I’ve been here for 31 years. A lot of negative things are glorified in this community but there are some great things going on,” said Patton.

The former Lonnie Burten Redskin has vowed to do his part in shedding some positive light on the area with his organization ‘Free Thinker since 87,’ hoping he can be a productive influence in neighborhoods that may be divided.

“There’s a lot of gang violence that goes on in the community. What I’ve been doing is getting all the kids from each community to come together and do hip hop,” said Patton.

His efforts have been forever archived in a documentary called “Bridge N Da Gap”.

“It’s about communities coming together. Outhwaite, Garden Valley, East 30th, etc. We bring them all together in one facility and let them play together that way we erase the generational trauma,” proclaimed Patton.

But this isn’t just any hip hop these kids are working on, the lyrics are often about social justice and mental health - topics sometimes untouched by the youth.

“We do things like that and we implement it into the music and we implement that into the film. They want to learn a lot and it’s not just English, Social Studies and Science,” concluded Patton.

Patton holds an open mic night every fourth Monday at the WOVU radio station.

To get in contact with Patton, you can always reach out to him on social media.

Instagram@walterpatton_

Facebook @ Walter Patton

Also click this Link to view “Bridge N Da Gap” in its entirety.

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