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Pine Bluff community stands up against youth violence



Pine Bluff, Arkansas – Pine Bluff, a community reeling from a surge in violent crimes involving young people, is saying “enough is enough.” In a disturbing trend, the city has witnessed at least four shootings in just the past month. Alarmingly, none of the seven individuals arrested so far exceed the age of 30, highlighting a significant issue of youth involvement in these violent acts.

Also read: Pine Bluff named most dangerous city in Arkansas for 2023

Albert Brewer, 61, founder of the non-violence program Gloves Not Guns, reflects on the drastic changes in his community. “I’m 61 years old, and it’s just a totally different community than it was back then,” he laments. Brewer has dedicated the latter half of his life to guiding kids towards non-violence, offering them a constructive outlet for their emotions.

The recent wave of violence has left Brewer feeling isolated in his efforts. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” he admits, his concern extending even to those he doesn’t know personally. “It’s just crazy and it’s senseless,” Brewer adds, his disappointment palpable.

Gloves Not Guns: A Beacon of Hope

Gloves Not Guns, inspired by the city’s struggles with violence, is a boxing program designed to provide young people with a positive way to channel their emotions. It aims to give them a dream to pursue, steering them away from confrontations. “We were born with two sets of guns and when you use [your hands] you can live to see another day,” Brewer explains, emphasizing the program’s philosophy.

Brewer acknowledges that youth violence is a national issue but remains optimistic that it can be curbed in Pine Bluff. He believes it requires a collective effort: “We didn’t get into this situation overnight and it’s not going to [get fixed] overnight, but the community is going to have to come together on both sides,” he states.

According to Brewer, the focus should be on after-school programs, offering kids alternatives to violence. Such initiatives could provide them with constructive activities and reduce their exposure to harmful influences.

“We need to continue to fight for our kids,” Brewer concludes, his message clear: The community must unite and act now to safeguard its youth and restore peace to Pine Bluff.

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