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How a Baltimore organization used a fun, but powerful way to shine light on gun violence affecting the city's youth

Posted at 11:19 PM, Feb 17, 2022

BALTIMORE — A local organization in Baltimore used a fun, but powerful way to shine light on the issue of gun violence affecting the city’s youth Thursday by throwing a skate party.

It was held by the R.I.C.H Foundation at the Shake & Bake Family Fun Center on Pennsylvania Avenue where the kids got a much needed break from the reality of crime that continues to impact their lives.

“They’re rolling skating and having fun but they know they are skating about this violence. This violence needs to stop,” Michael Battle said.

Battle threw the party in response to the recent violence against the city’s youth.

So far this year, four kids have been shot and killed in the city. Eight others were injured, according to police.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Battle.

“It take a second for a kid to die,” said Troy Whittaker who is a youth mentor with the foundation. “It takes a second for anybody to die. It’s big to have the kids here for a few hours than out there.”

The party was a much needed break from that reality, while they used their skates as a vehicle for change.

“I feel like we need to get our minds off that. This is a way we can get exercise and we can just bring peace to the community.”

Aside from having fun, it was also powerful where the kids learned about ways to resolve violence and the value of life.

For Battle, the work to protect them from the violence won’t stop here, knowing that the shootings in the city likely won’t either.

“Us as community leaders, we have to be proactive and not reactive. We have to get in front of this thing and we just have to go harder,” he said.