BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Hip hop mogul and RushCard co-founder Russell Simmons held a Day of Peace on Thursday in Queens, where he advocated for the end of youth violence through RushCard’s Keep the Peace initiative and encouraged the students of PS 993, MS 72 and Redwood Middle School to use mediation as a tool.
Through RushCard’s nationwide program, it donates funding to organizations each year that are working to reduce youth violence.
This year, RushCard has donated $25,000 to Peacekeepers program in Chicago and Atlanta, the Boys Hope Girls Hope program in Cincinnati, Community Coalition in Los Angeles and, for the third year in a row, Baisely Park Houses’ LIFE Camp.
“This community right now has more violence than it’s had in a very long time, and it’s more amongst young people,” Simmons told the Queens Tribune.
The vast majority of the camp counselors at LIFE Camp and Keep the Peace have served time in prison and serve as an example to youths as to why jail time should not be glorified, Simmons said.
The schoolyard was filled with students and staff in orange T-shirts that read “Keep The Peace RushCard,” with “Text PEACEFORCE to 51555” on the back.
At the beginning of the event, Simmons held a mediation session and delivered motivational remarks.
“Everybody in this world, no matter who they are, wants stillness,” said Simmons. “Everything that you buy, every drug that you take, every sip of alcohol you drink is to quiet the mind. But meditation is the best tool we have to quite the mind. A quite mind is happiness. A nosey mind is sickness and sadness.”
Rapper DMX also dropped by the event to speak to the youths in attendance.
The full story will be in this week’s print edition.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.