‘It Still Takes a Village’ initiative about gun violence, mental health held

Atlanta rapper Domani Harris, Georgia health professionals, and community leaders joined rapper Young Dro during a panel discussion on mental health and youth gun violence in Atlanta
Atlanta rapper Young Dro holds It Still Takes a Village initiative at the Trap Music Museum
Atlanta rapper Young Dro holds It Still Takes a Village initiative at the Trap Music Museum(Atlanta News First)
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 11:25 PM EDT|Updated: May. 31, 2023 at 11:30 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Atlanta rapper Young Dro hosted his “It Still Takes a Village” initiative and panel discussion about gun violence prevention and mental health awareness in the wake of a rise in youth gun violence in the metro Atlanta area.

The “It Still Takes a Village” event was held at the world-renowned Trap Music Museum in Atlanta on Wednesday evening.

Several panelists joined the discussion including Dr. Walter Brooks, Xavier Spann, a Grady Hospital professional, and other mental health professionals and community leaders. The room was filled with kids, parents, and other community members who all want to see an end to gun violence.

Ciara Elle, the co-founder of It Still Takes a Village, has experience as a health professional, and community leader. She talked about a lack of resources in Black communities and how the way some people are taught a certain way based on the environment that they grow up in.

Elle said there is a “distinct difference between a behavioral disorder and a mental illness.” Elle says there needs to be more violence prevention and de-escalation and conversations instead of people resulting in violence.

Atlanta city leaders have also called for a curfew to be put in place after the metro Atlanta area and other parts of Georgia were plagued with youth gun violence in the last week.

RELATED: Atlanta city leaders call for curfew after spike in youth gun violence

Rapper Domani Harris also talked about some misconceptions in the music and entertainment industry. “Music is so good, people put their real life into their music. It sounds so good that sometimes people ignore what we’re saying. What we’re saying is exactly how we’re feeling.” Domani says some artists talk about obstacles in their lives, and if it has a catchy hook, the message is lost.

Young Dro and Domani have talked about their personal lives in their music and sometimes their harsh realities are overlooked because critics focus on the wrong things.

Young Dro has held multiple It Takes a Village initiatives during the past several months across Georgia and he is taking his initiative on a tour across the U.S. with a focus on youth and de-escalation tools.

According to the official website, “the intervention tour, ‘It Still Takes a Village’ Gun Down Initiative 2023 Hip Hop Edition is grounded on the concept of this collective aid and the joint effort of community members to address gun violence, drug abuse, and the associated mental health problems, as well as behavioral issues among youths.”

RELATED: Atlanta city leaders call for end to youth gun violence after shootings

There have been multiple shootings involving youth across the metro Atlanta area and other parts of Georgia in the past week.

Police say 16-year-old Breasia Powell was shot and killed outside Benjamin E. Mays High School around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday. A 16-year-old boy was also injured in the shooting.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested in connection to the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy early Saturday morning in LaGrange.

An average of 133 Georgia children and teens die by guns every year, according to Everytown.