The Northside Coalition of Jacksonville (NCOJ) in partnership with Kids Hope Alliance (KHA) and the City of Jacksonville (COJ) sponsored the “Stop the Violence & Increase the Peace” rap contest event for all public school students. Billed as a “Come Together Day” adventure for all the citizens of the city, the rap, poetry and spoken word contest was held this past weekend at Hemming Plaza. The contest was a one day festival with food trucks, live performances, music and other entertainment. “This program is designed to interrupt and challenge the standard acceptance of violence in our city,” said Ben Frazier, Northside Coalition, president. “We utilize social media platforms to deliver a message of respect for others and for peaceful resolution of conflicts in the streets. It also allows youngsters from high crime neighborhoods to express their feelings in words about the violence that is taking place around them,” said Frazier.
Students were encouraged to use positive words and themes in their performances. The rap lyrics had to include words of dignity, respect, excellence and friendship. The non violence entity included rap lyric points on keeping your cool, conflict resolution, bullying and fighting. Finalist had the opportunity to perform on stage for their friends and classmates. Lyricist Mal, news anchor Dawn Lopez judged the contest on the rap, rhyme and rhythm of the words spewed during the contest presentations.
Increase the Peace is an educational campaign and competition to interrupt and challenge the norms of violence. This is a violence intervention program that brings students into the spotlight through their use of positive, creative language. When expressed through rap and poetry/spoken word, students will become advocates of non-violence, role models, and positive influencers for their schools and neighborhoods to address the critical issue of violence in our community. The Northside Coalition and its collaborating partners gave away three top cash prizes to the top three winners. Shown are first place winners Jeremiah and Jovarich Tisby, known as the “The Double Jays,” who shared the $500 dollar prize for the Increase the Peace Rap Contest wining rap “Get Your Mind Right”. James Burke Photo.