Beloved is an anti-gun violence campaign made possible through a partnership between the community, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Hope Corps program, and King County’s Zero Youth Detention/Public Health team. Beloved taps local creative talent to bring into focus the systemic causes of community-based gun violence and amplify the voices of those working on treatments and prevention. To learn more about Beloved and to get involved visit BelovedKingCounty.com.
Recent data paints a clear and grim picture, King County has been experiencing a significant increase in community-based gun violence and homicide. Currently, firearms are the leading cause of homicide deaths among youth and young adults in King County. Similar to COVID-19, gun violence dramatically affects marginalized communities the most with Black Americans making up the largest share of those killed by guns, suffering nearly 10 times more gun homicides and 15 times more gun assaults than white Americans. As reported in King County census data, the Black community totals 6.56% of the total population but makes up over 50% of the lives lost to gun violence. 85% of all homicides are people of color.
“Between the pandemic and the protest I lost a countless amount of friends and family to gun violence. I was sad, I was angry, and I felt alone. I felt like I was losing everything. Once I took the moment to look past myself, I realized that it wasn’t just me, it was my whole community feeling this way. All of a sudden we were all in attendance at the same funerals, holding the same pain and holding back the same tears. In this moment I realized I can no longer stand on the sidelines. I can either be a part of the change, the problem, or a victim.”
Erik Kalligraphy, co-creator of the Beloved campaign when asked why he started this partnership.
Community leadership, by those most directly impacted, is fundamental to the elimination of the epidemic of gun violence. Through a partnership between Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Hope Corps program, and King County’s Zero Youth Detention/Public Health team with managerial oversight by ToyBox Consulting and Management LLC. and fiscal Sponsorship by Black Coffee Northwest Grounded in Excellence 501c3, the Beloved campaign utilizes creative activations to amplify those in community working on treatments and prevention, as well as spotlight the systemic causes of community-based gun violence.
Media shapes our perspectives about life and how we can/should or will not live it. Beloved champions a life narrative beyond gun violence awareness. It is open community power of innovative thought replacing pain points through advocacy and action. Its unassailable facts of systemic racism combined with public health truths reframe our opportunities for conversations. It looks to how we engage in our collective valuing of human life leading with Black Lives. Beloved’s collective local voices certify that gun violence, as an epidemic, is an abuse to humanity.”
royal alley-barnes, acting director Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
“Gun violence is a public health epidemic. Treating violence as a public health issue calls on the de-stigmatization of those who are suffering and focuses on the “prescription” for treatment and cure, it means taking collective responsibility for the causes, the impacts, and the approaches to solving it.”
Eleuthera Lisch, co-creator of the Beloved campaign.
Over the course of 12 weeks beginning in February, Beloved will work in partnership with The Facts Newspaper and South Seattle Emerald to publish four special editions of the paper; Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) to create an in person exhibit; and Converge Media to host four town hall style live stream events, all exploring the causes of gun violence, treatment and prevention, as well as the restoration needed to eradicate gun violence. Beloved will also activate public spaces throughout Seattle and King County with pop-up public art installations and events in partnership with Creative Justice, Forever Safe Spaces, and Presidential Media Group. Many are working to cure the disease of gun violence, and many are affected by it. The goal of Beloved is to amplify the message: “Everyone lost to gun violence is someone Beloved.”