PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Residents in Pine Bluff are saying enough is enough after a recent string of violent crimes involving young people.
In the last month, Pine Bluff police have reported at least four shootings in the city and of the seven people already arrested, none are over the age of 30.
“I’m 61 years old, and it’s just a totally different community than it was back then,” Gloves Not Guns founder Albert Brewer said.
Brewer has dedicated the second half of his life to his non-violence program Gloves Not Guns, helping kids channel their emotions in a healthy way.
After hearing about the recent string of violence, he said he can’t help but feel like a lone fighter in the ring.
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Brewer said. “My heart even goes out to the ones that I don’t know. It’s just crazy and it’s senseless.”
Gloves Not Guns is a boxing program that started because of the violence in the city. Brewer said it gives kids a healthy way to channel their emotions and gives them a dream to fight for instead of someone to fight against.
“We were born with two sets of guns and when you use [your hands] you can live to see another day,” he said.
Young people involved in violence is a trend that’s sweeping the nation. Brewer said it can be stopped in Pine Bluff, but it will take the work of everyone.
“We didn’t get into this situation overnight and it’s not going to [get fixed] overnight, but the community is going to have to come together on both sides,” Brewer stated.
Brewer said there needs to be more emphasis on after-school programs for kids, giving them something besides violence to engage in.
“We need to continue to fight for our kids,” Brewer said.