How a Baltimore organization used a fun but powerful way to shed light on gun violence affecting the city’s youth

BALTIMORE — A local Baltimore organization used a fun but powerful way to shed light on the issue of gun violence affecting the city’s youth Thursday by hosting a skate party.

It was hosted by the RICH Foundation at the Shake & Bake Family Fun Center on Pennsylvania Avenue where the kids got a much-needed break from the reality of crime that continues to impact their lives.

“They are skating and having fun, but they know they are talking about this violence. This violence must stop,” said Michael Battle.

Battle organized the party in response to the recent violence against the city’s youth.

So far this year, four children have been shot and killed in the city. Eight other people were injured, police said.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Battle said.

“It takes a second for a child to die,” said Troy Whittaker, the foundation’s youth mentor. “It takes a second for someone to die. It’s more important to have the kids here for a few hours than there.

The party was a well-deserved break from that reality, as they used their skates as a vehicle for change.

“I feel like we have to change our minds. It’s a way to exercise and bring peace to the community.

In addition to having fun, it was also powerful where children learned ways to resolve violence and the value of life.

For Battle, the work to protect them from violence won’t end there, knowing that the shootings in the city probably won’t either.

“We as community leaders need to be proactive, not reactive. We have to get in front of this thing and we just have to go harder,” he said.