Wichita police are rolling out a new initiative in hopes of ending gang violence, but more importantly stopping children from becoming gang members.
“We’re tired of the shooting,” said Riccardo Harris, executive director of GEAR UP. “We’re tired of the drive-bys. We’re tired of the fighting.”
WPD is taking a stand against the violence with a new video.
The emotional 13 minutes will be shown to students across the city.
Tuesday, Rise Up For Youth kids at Northwest High watched the video for the first time.
“From all the violence last year, is it going to trickle down to retaliation during the spring and summer this year? Yeah this video came out just in time,” said David Gilkey, program director for Rise Up For Youth.
“Just to get out there and show people what’s happening,” said sophomore Joziah Hill, after watching the video. “Because, people don’t actually see what’s happening out here. People are losing their kids.”
One of those people is Harris, who lost his son Robert to gang violence in 2008.
“We’re sorry. We couldn’t save him,” Harris was heard saying in the video, about the moment he heard his son had passed. “Man you talking about, I felt like somebody punched me and knocked the wind out of me.”
It’s something the students say, they haven’t experienced personally, but it does resonate with them through Harris’ story.
“We can understand what they’re going through and what happens in their life,” said Taria Franklin, a sophomore at Northwest High.
Harris hopes this short, but powerful video, brings about change.
“People just don’t die,” said Hill. “People don’t deserve to die like that.”
Community leaders say, the best thing you can do if you see something happening, is to speak up and say “I don’t want this happening in my neighborhood.”