CINCINNATI — As Cincinnati saw a series of shootings, a group of Taft High School students released a video telling people to not just put down guns, but take an active role in stopping violence.
In this video, a teenager finds a gun, picks it up and shows it off to his friends. Then some of his friends decide to say something to his mother. When he comes home, his mother sits him down and explains why he shouldn’t have the gun. It ends with him giving up the gun and nobody gets hurt.
“We lost three students at our school to gun violence and I’ve had neighbors and family members I lost to gun violence,” said Thaysha Nelson.
Nelson was one of the students who worked on the PSA. For her and other Taft High School students, the message they were trying to send was personal.
“People are getting killed and it’s sad it just got to stop,” said Ta’Kera Orr. “Within the past year, almost two years now, he was shot just walking home.”
Shemar Simpson-Bell spoke about the pressure teenagers may be under this summer, and said they completed this video in the last week of May. During that week and into June, there were multiple shootings, including one on May 31st in Over The Rhine, where four people, including a ten year old, got hit with bullets.
“Life is about decisions and just give them a choice you know showing them the good ways and the bad ways,” said Shemar Simpson-Bell. “I got little brothers and sister that live here, I don’t want nothing to happen to them so I just want everything to be cool for my little brother and sister and family.”
After the May 31 shooting, Cincinnati Police Chief Theresa Theetge spoke out about parents’ accountability when youth are wrapped up in violence.
“Parents, guardians where are your children, where are they during the day, where are they at night, if you need help with getting them involved in some activities to keep them safe please reach out to us we have resources to help keep your kids active,” said Theetge.
The Taft High School students behind the PSA are hoping their intended message makes a difference.
“If you know or see someone who is in danger if you are afraid to tell the police or your teacher you can tell your parent or their parents if you know they are an understanding parent and they would communicate with their child,” said Nelson.