Families gathered around the stage at Concourse Park in Kansas City, Missouri Sunday afternoon for music, dancing and messages of unity. Handed the microphone, Juyle Standifer sang her plea for peace. “Put the guns down. Put the guns down. I’m asking you please put the guns down.” In this 7-year-old's eyes, it’s simple.
“It’s not very kind to shoot others,” said Standifer.
Ophelia Brinkley (Creative Emajinations Founder) said the violence reached close to home that weekend.
“The latest homicide was in our neighborhood so the reason why we created the song is because of stuff that we hear every day.”
Brinkley is launching a non-profit organization in Kansas City called Creative Emajination’s to provide arts education and services to youth who are unable to access such programs due to a lack of resources. She said young people need alternatives and opportunities.
“We have to get together as a community and keep discussing ways to make a change and I feel like being here is one of them.”
The song resonated with Charles Jones who said when he first heard it elsewhere it inspired him to turn his life around.
“To hear a child say it its really time to wake up,” said Jones. “We are really killing each other, and it needs to stop. We got kids we are leaving behind.”
The event at the park was organized by Councilman Brandon Ellington’s No More Excuses Coalition. The group’s goal is to reduce crime through community projects.
“Some of things we are looking at in relation to reducing crime, you have to have economic activity so we have a few individuals that we work with that can directly give people jobs that have felonies, etc.,” said Ellington. “We constantly walk neighborhoods that have different issues that have violence organizing in those neighborhoods. From the council level I’m looking to work with developers, etc. to bring development to the third district and all of this reduces crime.”
This event was the last of a series of three community events hosted by the No More Excuses Coalition. Creative Emajinations non profit has been at the last 2 events which had most of their students performing. Creative Emajinations is actively seeking members of the community to support the organization the founder is actively working with youth and has been since 2019.
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