CLEVELAND (WJW) – Students all around the country are making the pledge to end gun violence, including high schoolers in Northeast Ohio.
Community activists and leaders made a presentation to the students of Ginn Academy on Wednesday to share their messages of grief and pain due centered around the victims of gun violence.
Leading up to the moment when the entire student body participated in the five-step recitation to take the pledge.
Ginn Academy Senior Christopher Weems said that gun violence is something he worries about every day.
“I worry for myself, my mom worried about me,” Weems said. “Like it’s hard living here in Cleveland especially surrounded by all the violence. Like when I walk home at night from practice, I keep thinking I’m ‘gonna get killed. You never know, death could be right around the corner.”
Community Activist Yvonne Pointer lost her daughter Gloria to gun violence when she was 14 in 1984. She uses that pain to help reach others before it’s too late.
Pointer said 23 cities across the country are participating in the pledge, with a goal of getting one million signatures in support of the campaign.
“We understand the unity,” Pointer said. “So if you’re standing next to a person and both of you pledge not to not use guns for violence, that’s going to be a seed that grows a harvest of a peaceful community – we hope.”
For Weems the message is received, and he plans to keep his promise.
“I think it was a pledge for the brotherhood, for all of us, it was meant for all of us,” he said. “The community, the city, the country – it was meant for all of us.”
In addition to the students at Ginn Academy, 1,500 youth members at Mycom Community Centers, John Jay High School and Kenneth Clements Elementary also took the pledge.
Cleveland Police report there have been 107 homicides with a firearm through October 15, 2022. There have also been 992 felonious assaults with firearms over the same period. Both crime categories are seeing a decrease compared to the same time in 2021, -18.94% and -22.56% respectively.