‘Don’t pick up a gun’: GPD hosts “Who’s in the Box” play to address gun violence in youth

‘Don’t pick up a gun’: GPD hosts “Who’s in the Box” play to address gun violence in youth
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 10:38 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Gainesville Police Department is trying to think outside the box in addressing a spike in gun violence with a two-part presentation called “Who’s in the Box”. The first part of the play was an eye-opening experience for teens.

GPD partnered with local churches, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, star center theatre, and McDonald’s to put on a two part play to encourage young people to make better choices.

“You just gotta think before you do things,” 15-year-old Ira Warren said.

The play was about a teen who’s bullied and seeks revenge with a gun.

“Unfortunately he chose to settle that decision with a gun and have dire consequences after that,” Director Romona Jackson said.

Organizers said the play is called ‘’ Who’s in the Box’' because it shows one teen facing 20 years in prison and another who is killed.

“There’s so many other options out there,” Jackson added. “Call on someone. Don’t pick up a gun.”

The play comes after a spike in shootings involving young people this past summer.

So, the presentation sends a vital message to Ira Warren.

“It’s very important,” Warren said. “Especially with what’s going on now. More teens are getting killed nowadays.”

Warren said the play was an eye opening experience for him

“No matter what decision you have, it’s always going to be a consequence,” Warren added. “It can be a good consequence or a bad consequence.”

They said the presentation shows them that one bad choice can impact so many lives.

“You know who are you hurting? You’re not just hurting a kid or killing a kid,” Warren explained. “You’re hurting his family, hurting his mom, hurting his brothers. You have to think about those things.”

“You can’t let a five minute moment take away 20 years of your life like the judge was saying in the play,” Cori Rawlins said.

Parents who have lost their children to gun violence will speak at part two of the play on Thursday.

It’s a message Alachua County school board member Leanetta McNealy said kids need to hear.

“That they will be empowered to know how to deal with certain situations,” McNealy said.

Part two will be shown at Daysprings Missionary Baptist Church from 6 to 8 p.m.

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