(Memphis) After a string of shootings in the Frayser neighborhood this week, community organizers brought teens together Saturday night for something positive.
Some say Frayser lacks a sense of “unity” which might lead to a lot of the violence, so they called Saturday’s event a “unity jam”.
It might not have been the turnout that organizers hoped for, but it did bring out some teenagers that also trying to bring unity and positivity to Frayser.
“You should keep believing and keep faith that anything is possible,” said Kandeja Stevens, an 18 year-old at Trezevant High School.
Stevens is turning life experience into a movement of positivity, “I had a cousin that died because of street violence.”
She hands out t-shirts to get other teens on-board with living a better life, “It says ‘I believe. KD3. The movement.”
She’s just one teenager who came to Frayser’s Unity Jam hoping to lead a community by example.
Wanay Smith is another.
He’s a 17-year-old who spent the day collecting donations on Sam Cooper, hoping he and 9 other teenagers from Frayser can fly to Spain in June.
“To better our lives by going off and seeing things and bringing it back to our community,” said Smith.
The teens in the group have never flown on a plane and some haven’t been far beyond their zip code.
It’s zip code that’s seen five shootings in one week and two deaths.
One 15-year-old is on crutches after being hit by a bullet in his own bedroom.
“The issues are that we don`t come together as one,” said Stevens. “Us young people are actually killing each other.”
Saturday night, it was about coming together and finding out that people care.
“We hope that this message will get out tonight that the community is wrapping our arms around them,” said Charlie Caswell, the executive director of Rangeline Community Development Corporation, who organized the event.
Teens learned from other teens, like Stevens, that despite where they come from, anything is possible, “People told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I come from this area and coming from Trezevant High School and I proved them wrong by signing that full athletic scholarship.”
Stevens just signed a basketball scholarship with Mississippi Valley State University.
If you would like to help those teens get to Spain this summer, they need $20,000 to do it.
You can help them by donating here: www.gofundme.com/frayserhsitc
You can learn more about the International Travel Club by clicking: http://frayserhsitc.weebly.com