As the body count rises in the calculation of casualties from all the senseless shootings in America, a poster is showing up around the Denver Metro Area. The poster says DON’T SHOOT above a pair of eyes and beneath the eyes it reads: I WANT TO GROW UP.
The eyes seem to belong to a brown skinned female. The hint of eye makeup and absence of crows feet suggests that she is a teenager who would like to become an adult. The poster was placed on the outside window of an auto parts store in Park Hill. No one ripped it down. No one defiled the poster with graffiti.
There is a phone number on the poster with the words ‘say it loud / brotherjeff.com’ noted at the bottom. A trip to the Brother Jeff web site reveals opportunities for the viewer to do something about gun violence in the 5 Points area of Denver.
Show Up and Sit In is advertised as a day for black men and youth to visit several Denver area schools, this Friday October 4, 2013 to share solutions to the gun violence that has become so prevalent in America. Go to the web site for more information on joining the cause.
The target of the advertisement seems to be blacks. Is that to say blacks are the victims of this gun violence that needs to be stopped or are blacks the perpetrators of these violent shootings? It seems short sighted to just target the black community. It would be better to say Everybody Hold Your Fire.
Is this gun violence a race issue? Would it improve race relations in Denver and promote safety throughout our city if this poster was seen in more areas than just Park Hill and 5 Points? The victims of gun violence can be found just about anywhere in America. Those who use guns for violent purposes are not exclusively from the black community.
Say it loud for everyone who can perceive the words. Target the 5 points community and Cherry Hills Village, Aurora, and Park Hill, Parker and Centennial. Just seeing the words DON”T SHOOT could be an unexpected wake up call for a despondent teen about to repay the bullies with a spray of bullets or maybe stop someone from ending the torment for themselves with a single shot.
Those well placed words DON’T SHOOT could give an angry husband, or a disgruntled employee a jolt, a reason to pause and think that maybe this shooting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Brother Jeff is saying the words that no child should ever have to say aloud. "Don’t shoot! I want to grow up!"