San Francisco took part in Concert Across America, a coast-to-coast effort to end gun violence. The one-day music festival Sunday consisted of 350 concerts in 200 cities simultaneously.
“It takes the hood to save the hood; it takes the people to save the people,” said Damien Bosey with United Playaz, a violence prevention and youth development organization that has worked in the city for 20 years.
About a dozen artists hit the stage at Victoria Manalo Draves Park on Harrison and Sherman streets in San Francisco for the free festival.
“We're just trying to reach out to the kids,” said one of the headliners, Rick Stevens, formerly of Oakland’s Tower of Power.
Stevens spent 36 years in prison for shooting three men over drugs. But since paroled in 2012, he’s using his lyrics to influence teens to make better decisions.
“If you doing some stupid stuff, stop it!” Stevens said.
United Playaz hosted the Bay Area’s version of the music marathon.
“We all came together because we're tired of senseless gun killings,” said Rudy Corpuz, executive director of the organization. His group is on the front line of changing young lives and reducing the growing number of almost 10,000 children shot nationwide every year.
But organizers say the biggest achievement is seeing police and residents talking together – forming a bond together to enforce stronger neighborhoods.
“They've been great grassroots partners,” says San Francisco's Interim Police Chief Toney Chaplin. But the chief admits beyond the music and a stronger community, he still faces his challenges over weapons in the wrong hands.
“More and more people are turning guns in, but they return back on the streets through gun dealerships,” Chaplin said.