LEAD POISONING and GUN VIOLENCE
are two major health issues affecting families
on the East side of Cleveland.
1. Improve relationships between teens and police.
2. Improve the health of young people affected by potential lead poisoning.
3. Increase the safety of our community.
- 300 students age 9-18 met with police, lead poisoning experts and our professional artists to discuss solutions.
- 20 students ages 15-20 worked alongside our professional artist producers to produce a t-shirt line and a professional CD release with their message combatting these problems.
Which lead problem is worse? Do they impact each other? Why must we face these kinds of harmful and deadly forces in our neighborhoods? These are just some of the questions we wrestled with as we created this album.
Our leadership team of 20 students age 15-20 worked alongside our professional artists and producers to produce a t-shirt line and full CD of songs articulating our learning process and our message to "Drop the Lead" and better health and safety in our neighborhoods.
Josh Dix, 16, made a powerful sketch to represent the two lead problems we face on the East side of Cleveland. We turned it into the album cover and a t-shirt that was hand printed by Charles Spooney and Arrianna Rodgers aka Air.
Dee Jay Doc (founder) and Lee Harrill (artist/mentor) worked with Derrick Washington, (junior producer) to produce this album. It was mixed and mastered by Lee Harrill and Dee.
Our latest album, "Drop the Lead", is an exploration of the two lead problems that face our community on the East side of Cleveland: lead paint and gun violence. 1 in 20 in Flint Michigan have been poisoned by lead. In the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio it's 1 in 3. While we work with the Greater University Circle Community Health Initiative to raise awareness and promote solutions to this tragedy, students and families seem much more focused on gun violence and concerned with police brutality. We are hosting conversations between police and teens to try to find solutions to our gun problems as well as improve teen-police relations. We want to thank Captain Keith Sulzer for taking time to listen and share personally. "Same Side" was written by Cris Huff after interviewing Captain Sulzer to tell about his life as an officer and a real person.
Here's a performance of "Behind Walls," written by Lee Harrill, James Yang and Pat Warner that expresses the anguish and questioning we experience when we see brutal acts of violence between police and citizens. As we talk and try to make sense of it, the only solution is for EVERYONE who cares to build trust, lock arms and come together to rise up for peace on our streets. Thank you Cleveland Police Foundation for inviting us to perform and for all of your work to honor and support the efforts of relationship building between teens and police. It's making a difference.
At the Coit Road Farmers' Market, Captain Keith Sulzer and his crew grilled hot dogs, danced and posed behind the turntables. They also took on hard questions from these 10th graders from MC2 Stem High School. This is just one of the visits that were made to several schools, summer camps and after-school programs as we opened up conversations between police and teens.
"Forgotten Homes" was composed and written by Cris Huff, Mecca Primm, Charles Spooney, Derrick Washington and Maurice Philpott Jr. after researching lead poisoning in Cleveland and the historical and racial factors that have allowed it to harm the futures of thousands of children in Cleveland. It was made and is featured by cleveland.com in this article by Rachael Dissel who interviewed our students about the process. We want to thank Lynn Ischay for shooting this video and allowing our students to have creative input and see the process.
Dee Jay Doc cut it up on the turntables to set the energetic tone with Neal Hodges (lead buster) and the Greater University Circle Community Health Initiative at this lead awareness party for students and families at Mary Bethune Elementary School in Glenville.
After our students performed a few songs, the "Lead Busters" arrived to talk about how to keep the lead away. Older siblings were told to keep an eye out for chipping paint. After the performance, students had a blast on stage!
This project was made possible from generous support from the City of Cleveland’s Cable Television Minority Arts and Education Fund (MAEF), a supporting organization of the Cleveland Foundation. Ongoing support provided by the Ohio Arts Counsil.