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Floyd Mayweather/photo by @joymanagementin and GLO Photography

As of July 30 2018, there have been a total of 1,711 shootings. Of that number, over 330 have resulted in homicide. Add the numbers from this past weekend, and totals continue to send shock waves throughout our community.

While the murder rate in Chicago has drastically decreased since it was named murder capital of the U.S. back in 2013, this data proves that tremendous strides still need to be taken to make our neighborhoods safe again. This has been a constant topic of conversation by grass roots activist, the national media and politicians alike

Saturday night, (July 28) a very different group of concerned citizens got engaged in the discussion. Heavyweight champion Floyd Mayweather sat down with Karen Civil and a panel of Chicago bred tastemakers to discuss this current state of affairs with regards to violence in Chicago’s inner city during the First Annual Gloves Up, Guns Down event.

The goal: “exposing the affected demographic to non-traditional careers such as those of our panelists including celebrities, influencers and activists.”

Often times, when the topic of ending gun violence occurs with in affluent circles, the members of the population it affects most are not present. This couldn’t be further from the truth on this occasion.

A large portion of the evening was spent recognizing and paying homage to the families on the front lines, such as: members of the elders of the inner city communities, youth of the Robert Taylor Boxing team, the event organizer, whose husband was a victim of gun violence, and most notably the family of Emmitt Till.

Panelists/ photo by @joymanagementin and GLO Photography

Panelist included:

Karen Civil (Moderator): Media Mogul and Digital Marketing Strategist

Corey Gilkey-  Founder of LEADERS 1354 prominent curator of Chicago street fashion

Ryan Henry– Owner of 9mag and star of the hit VH1 show Black Ink Crew Chicago

Demetrius (D) Nash– Southside based activist who walked from his grandmother’s house on (address) to Washington DC in order to bring attention to the murder rate…

J Prince – Founder and CEO of Houston based Rap-A-Lot Records, highly respected hip hop authority and author of The Art & Science of Respect.

Other notable participants included hostess Alvin Austin; philanthropist and owner of More Media LLC.

Topics of the evening’s discussion included entrepreneurship and the philanthropic efforts of the panelist used to provide viable opportunities to deter the youth from violence. Ryan Henry urged that teaching and creating an appetite for entrepreneurship was key in driving change.  Similarly, J Prince shared his knowledge of entrepreneurship and navigating the music industry as a vehicle for ”keeping the youth out of trouble.” Corey Gilkey touched on internship programs that his team provides to ambitious inner-city youth, while D Nash highlighted his grassroots efforts in closely mentoring the youth in those same areas.

The event ended with a beyond generous contribution from Mayweather. As a show of his commitment to the city, he has pledged to build 4 Mayweather Boxing Fitness gyms in the city of Chicago by the end of 2019.

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