Bringing down violence and building a community

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Art Against Violence is an event that happened March 31 at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton.

The topics discussed were about ways to make Stockton a nice and safe place again.

Each panelist helped children, teens and young adults to getting on the right path, even people that used to be in gangs.

Each group also thinks art is important for every community.

“Art and music are so important, so that we can push education to make sure that children, teens, and young adults attend college to become career ready. Society doesn’t have a lot of support for children to do art work a lot. There are studies that show that children, teens, adults test scores have increased, when they add music and art in their lives,” said Jasmine Dellafosse.

Dellafosse, 21, is a community organizer with the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition.

For the past two years she, along with countless young people in south Stockton, have been finding ways to build community engagement and empowerment through youth.

She’s involved with Summer Literacy Programs, the Housing Authority and University of the Pacific to promote literacy through art and music, with focus on youth empowerment through art, spoken word, dance, community workshops and more.

Since November 2015, Dellafosse and others have committed to reclaiming neighborhood parks with art.

Their efforts have helped rid some vandalism, graffiti and gang-related crime and have increased the number of families using the parks.

“A report came out, which says that youth from ages twenty through twenty-four were out of work and school,” said Dellafosse. “African Americans, over forty-percent from the ages of twenty through twenty-four were out of work and school. Students that are out of work and school, lead to high crimes.”

Dellafosse is looking to make positive change to Stockton.

“We need to retell a positive story, retell stories, need to educate our own minds, need to heal ourselves that will recreate a better society that we want to see for ourselves and our children in it. Without that, we will keep recreating the same stories. Some stories are destructive, filled with anger, hatred, and racism,” said Khemya MitRahina, African dance and Music folk traditions instructor.

For more information on how to be a part of helping the Stockton community, email Dellafosse at jasminedellafosse12@gmail.com.