As the violence continues to climb to new heights in Baltimore, many are looking for ways to make it stop. Some residents are coming together to take a unique approach to try and stop the violence with the “Hug Don’t Shoot” Movement.
Hug Don’t Shoot is a grassroots movement where residents are going out into their communities to replace violence with hugs and positivity.
“We deal hugs one day, one person at a time,” says Val Jenkins, founder of Hug Don’t Shoot. “Our mission is to bring a sense of peace into every community one hug at a time.”
The movement launched on August 5th as a part of the Baltimore Cease Fire Movement, an effort for the city of Baltimore to have no murders for 72 hours. Although that movement didn’t reach its goal of no murders, residents pushed forward this new movement of hugging those in their community to help stop the violence.
“I’m 27 years old and I lost count of how many friends I’ve lost to gun violence,” said Tiffany Timmons, a Hug Dealer with the movement. “I’ve literally lost count.”
Hug Dealers like Timmons are taking matters into their own hands with this movement and embracing anyone they can.
“Maybe just for that 5-10 seconds when they go on, they’re not sad anymore,” said Timmons. “That could change someone else’s mood.”
It’s a step in the right direction and an effort to make change.
Hug Dealers will be back in action Saturday, September 30th from 12-2pm at Druid Hill Park. There they will be joined by at least 50 kids giving hugs and trying to make change in their neighborhoods.