'Put the Guns Down, Pick the Mic Up' gives Hampton youth positive outlet

“We’ve got our young children becoming desensitized to the violence and to the trauma," Mayor Tuck says
Mayor Donnie Tuck speaks at Put the Guns Down Pick the Mic Up
Posted at 10:50 PM, Nov 20, 2021

HAMPTON, Va - Put the Guns Down, Pick the Mic Up! A talent showcase giving Hampton Roads youth an outlet.

“In a neighborhood, you’ll find one day yellow tape around an area and then the next day you got children playing in that same area where the yellow tape is,” Hampton’s Mayor Donnie Tuck said.

Hampton’s Mayor Donnie Tuck says gun violence in Hampton Roads become too common for too many.

“We’ve got our young children becoming desensitized to the violence and to the trauma,” Tuck said.

The city of Hampton and non-profit organization Give Back to Da Block came together to put on a talent showcase featuring cheerleaders from Hampton High School and Denbigh High School to local artists.

“It’s time to join together,” high school cheerleaders chanted.

Families enjoy the fun at ease.

“I brought my grandchildren here. My oldest two lost their father to gun violence last May. I just want them to be involved in things to stop the violence because normally it starts at this age,” Barbara Jenkins said, a Hampton Roads resident.

“We understand the concept of put the guns down, pick the mic up because a lot of our kids are dying from gun violence,” Darrell Redmond tells News 3’s Leondra Head.

Darrell Redmond, the founder of Give Back to Da Block, an organization that teaches youth life skills and overcoming violence, encourages youth to use their voice through their talent.

“Understanding that words are more powerful than guns and bullets, so utilize your voice instead of utilizing a gun. When kids are able to express themselves verbally, it helps them because they are expressing themselves angrily using a gun,” Redmond said.

“This program is not something I would have thought of but we have a lot of creative minds, individuals who are in touch with the community more so than I am. I thank you for what you’re doing,” Mayor Tuck said.

The founder of Give Back to Da Block says he plans to take “Put Down the Guns, Pick Up a Mic” to other Hampton Roads cities to give youth a positive experience and decrease gun violence.