URBANA, Ill. (WCIA)–Local activist group H.V. Neighborhood Transformation just finished their latest event for their 40 Days of Peace Initiative. In an effort to curtail gun violence and bring the community together, they had a community celebration, this time with a focus on dancing. In collaboration with local community builder and organizer Jezale Carter, this latest Community Celebration would be coming with its very own Dance Competition.
Three teams gathered at King Park in Urbana Saturday afternoon, each with the goal of wow-ing the crowd and strutting their stuff. One of those teams, ‘Champaign Heat‘, is run by teenager Dasweetis Cook, who says she wants to give young girls a stable outlet.
“That’s why i made champaign heat dance company,” Cook said. “To better everything. To get these girls off the streets and give them something good to do. When i was young, I was going dance team to dance team, i don’t want them to do that. I want to have them here for however long they want to go.”
“They could be out here doing anything, but they’re dancing,” Asia Dixon, the coach for Many Shades, said. “I feel like that keeps them busy and out of trouble, and a lot of kids should be involved.”
Demons’ coach Diamond Craig added “This means a lot to us because with us growing up in a small town, this is surprising us how much violence we’ve seen. We want our streets back, and we want everyone to put the guns down.”
For all their hard work, each of the teams were awarded one hundred bucks. But coaches say the real reward was seeing the community come together.
“This is good for the community and it’s bettering it,” Cook said. “Everybody’s coming together, there’s no trauma, no violence, especially for this dance competition.”