DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – An event designed to curb gun violence is using city dollars to bring in two recording artists.
For the third year in a row, Dayton is holding Speak Week which uses hip hop to speak out against gun violence.
Last year’s event featured hip hop artist MC Lyte. This year, the city is bringing in two other artists, Chubb Rock and Dana Dane.
“It’s not for the artists to come in and do a performance,” says Catherine Crosby, Executive Director of the Human Relations Council. “It’s for the artists to come in for educational purposes to talk to students about the influence of hip hop on gun violence.”
We found those artists come at a cost. City Commissioners approved Wednesday paying them $15,000.
We were told the money will be split between Wright State, grant funding and Dayton tax dollars.
“We have consultants and individuals come in and give sessions to our employees,” says City Commissioner Joey Williams. “They do things for our neighborhood groups. We view this as very similar.”
Speak Week is a part of the city’s larger Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence.
Numbers we found show, since the initiative started in 2009, gang related homicides have dropped from 14 in 2008 to two in 2012.
City leaders think events like Speak Week play a role in that drop.
“I think you meet young people where they are and tell them this is an opportunity to make a difference,” Crosby says. “This is how you can get your message out there. If you save one life, two lives it is definitely worth spending that money.”
The Speak Week events run from April 24-26 and are capped off by a free lecture and hip hop tribute put on by Chubb Rock and Dana Dane at Sinclair Community College.