CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– We’re nearing the halfway point of the 40 Days of Peace initiative.
In the wake of several shootings over the weekend, we visited with Maurice Hayes, Executive Director and founder of the HV Neighborhood Transformation. He is one of the people behind the push for peace.
“We’re losing kids every day, we are,” he said. “And if that doesn’t pull at your heart, you’ve got to be the hardest person in the world.”
Monday marked 16 days after the 40 Days of Peace kicked off on Juneteenth. Hayes said, despite the violence since the initiative began, it will continue, adding, disrupting the cycle of violence is the mission every day.
Hayes told WCIA the increased violence should be a sign that this is everyone’s problem, especially with the number of kids involved.
I asked hayes how kids are getting so wrapped up in the violence.
“It’s two different worlds going on. The culture is gun violence,” Hayes responded when asked how kids are getting so wrapped up in the violence.
“Every song that you hear on the radio is talking about shooting. Every video that you see, everywhere you go, they’re talking about shooting and how many people they can kill. With that information, it’s easy to influence young, influential minds.”
He said he’s heard a lot of cries for the violence to stop and for things to change, but nothing happens without action.
So what does that look like?
We’ve got to replace guns with outlets for kids, Hayes said. He stressed the importance of educating the younger generation about the danger.
Hayes said this initiative needs to happen across entire cities and towns, making sure efforts are focused on underserved communities. These are the places where the 40 Days of Peace events are being held.
The next event is a march, beginning at Garden Hills Park Saturday at 4 p.m.