Concert Across America raises gun violence awareness


Aura Rossy, Staff Reporter

Last Sunday, Sept. 23 the Cleveland edition of The Concert Across America To End Gun Violence took place in the University Circle United Methodist Church, with performances by local arts organizations including The Karamu House, DuffyLit, Twelve Literary Arts, Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) and the Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word.

The Cleveland concert was only one of 48 concerts across the nation with the mission to remind everyone of the impact gun violence has on our communities.

CSA, a public high school in University Circle, is familiar with Concert Across America’s activism. CSA students function as cultural liaisons, using their musical talent as a tool to connect with the community and spread impactful messages.

Veronica, an attendee of the event and mother of a CSA alumni, said the school is involved in many similar performances in the University Circle area. Although her daughter now attends Berklee College of Music on a scholarship, she returned to the CSA performance to support other students who she is still in contact with.

In a piece Veronica’s daughter wrote about her transition to CSA, she describes how welcoming and inclusive the school felt, despite her fears of being picked on for being six feet tall.

“In the piece, she [her daughter] explains how she was just sitting there on the first day of school and someone came over and said ‘Oh my god, she’s so tall.’ and she was like ‘Here we go again,’” said Veronica. “But no, it was a photography student that wanted to take pictures of her and wanted her for a part of their project.”

CSA’s inclusive atmosphere shone through their emotional performance at the Concert Across America and mournful expression of the effects of gun violence.

In addition to remembering the victims of gun violence and raising awareness, the event was charged with political energy. Slogans such as “Get on Board” and “Stop the Epidemic” encouraged attendees to vote in the upcoming November elections and get in touch with their communities to make a difference.

Rosie Craig, who has been involved with the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence for the past 18 years, introduced herself to the public with a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in reference to the failure by legislators to protect the public from gun violence. She pleaded with concert attendees to be aware of what is going on within their communities and use their voice by registering to vote and encouraging others to vote as well.