Ja Rule, Reverend Al Sharpton and others joined T.I. Monday (May 11) afternoon in New York City to speak out against gun violence.
The event also honored the lives of two slain teenagers.
The Grammy-winning artist joined the Rev. Al Sharpton at a rally honoring the memory of 13 year-old Christopher Owen and 17 year-old Cory Squires, both recently gunned down. T.I., Sharpton, rapper Ja Rule, Queen Pen and community activists marched to the spot on W. 141st St. where Squires was shot dead in a May 3 street fight. A father of six, T.I. implored kids to think before pulling a gun to settle differences, saying, “you’re not just killing a man, you’re killing a family.” (New York Daily News)
Tip stressed the impact gun violence has upon family members.
“We don’t understand the pain that goes on with mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers,” he said about the victims of gun violence. “There are households being destroyed. You’re not just killing a man, you’re killing a family. But just like we can destroy, we can rebuild, and that’s what we’re here to do.” (MTV)
Prior to the event, the “King of the South” inked an open letter to the public.
“In a few weeks, I will begin a one-year prison sentence for being in the possession of illegal firearms,” Tip wrote. “Where I come from, having a gun is just part of everyday life. But, through this painful process of going to court and being convicted, I realized that I had to make a change. I made some bad decisions. I broke the law and will accept my punishment. With deep reflection about where my life was headed, I have begun the process of redemption, and decided that before I go to prison, I want to speak to young people about responsibility as a lifestyle. I hope that through my mistakes, young people can begin to learn, as I did, that we have to put our guns down and start to give our guns back. It pains me inside to hear about so many of our people dying because of gun violence…Now is the time for me to lead by example.” (Global Grind)
The gathering also aimed to gain the attention of political officials.
T.I. will utilize his non-profit K.I.N.G. foundation to hold the anti-gun and violence rally in Harlem, NY. Assisting the Atlanta native’s endeavor are Reverend Al Sharpton, Russell Simmons and Kevin Liles. Announced as ‘Responsibility is a Lifestyle: it’s Time to Bury Da Beef,’ the involved groups plan to initiate a ‘call to action to engage elected officials, community organizers, artists, and every American citizen to accept responsibility to build safer communities.’ (Top 40 Charts)