Water gun fight celebrates Juneteenth with a message

4 weeks 3 hours 19 minutes ago Tuesday, June 18 2019 Jun 18, 2019 Tuesday, June 18, 2019 3:58:00 PM CDT June 18, 2019 in News
By: Diana Fidarova and Annie Ochitwa, KOMU 8 Reporters
loading

COLUMBIA - The organizer of a water gun fight says he wanted to address a serious issue in a fun way - gun violence.

Akil Hutchins hosted the "Water Guns Up, Guns Down" event on June 19, known as Juneteenth, which many black people consider a celebration of emancipation and independence.

"I hope that we all can come together, have a great time and next time not even taking it to that level, just talk it out," he said. 

Hutchins said the organizers decided to choose the Juneteenth celebration as a date for the water battle event for a few reasons. 

"One movement is about living your independent life, and the other is just taking it away from you and taking away the opportunity to grow," he said. 

Caleb Wright, a participant, said he hopes this is also an opportunity for kids to learn about Juneteenth.

"This is a very important part of teaching kids not only that you can play safe outdoors and have a good time, but also to bring awareness and enlightenment about Juneteenth and what it should mean to our people," Wright said. "I've always known about it but this is the first we've actually been able to create an event around it. So it means a lot to me."

Na-Keysha Berry, an organizer of the event, says they wanted to create something special on this day.

"Something special that would speak to the community and work to bring us all together in an effort to stop gun violence," she said. 

Hutchins said the event is meant to raise awareness on illegal use of firearms, the need for proper training and strategies for deescalating conflicts. 

"We look at weapons like as toys, which is unfortunate," he said. "A weapon should be used as a tool rather than to play with, to pull out, to show off."

Hutchins' cousin was killed by a gun, and the loss impacted Hutchins' life. 

"Just being a nine-year-old, having a PTSD of just hearing somebody losing somebody else because of something, that can be a trigger," he said. 

Hutchins said, even if he weren't affected by gun violence, he would have organized the event.

"There's a lot of going on in the cities surrounding us - Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, the number of deaths that are happening because of the gun violence," he said. "It's just senseless violence."

Wright has lived in Columbia his whole life, and said he thinks this is a perfect place for this movement.

"Columbia is super diverse. It's always been a melting pot ever since I was a kid, ever since I can remember," Wright said. 

According to a 2019 study by the Violence Policy Center, Missouri had the fifth-highest gun death rate in the United States in 2017 with 21.38 deaths per 100,000 people. 

Hutchins said he thinks this event will encourage people to respect and communicate with those around them.

"That's one of the big things, that we're absolutely a community and we might not like everybody in your community, that's just how it goes, but there's no need to resort to violence," Hutchins said.

Wright said although it's too early to make plans, they hope to make this water gun fight a part of their annual Juneteenth celebration. 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The summer months are a busy time for air conditioning companies, but especially this week with excessive heat... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, July 16 2019 Jul 16, 2019 Tuesday, July 16, 2019 5:27:00 PM CDT July 16, 2019 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Missouri State volleyball coach Melissa Stokes has been placed on paid administrative leave while the university... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, July 16 2019 Jul 16, 2019 Tuesday, July 16, 2019 2:31:00 PM CDT July 16, 2019 in News
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Police say a semitrailer's computer data says it was going above the speed limit when it slammed... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, July 16 2019 Jul 16, 2019 Tuesday, July 16, 2019 10:48:00 AM CDT July 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Columbia police officers are working with the city’s park rangers to increase patrols in city parks after several... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, July 16 2019 Jul 16, 2019 Tuesday, July 16, 2019 10:08:00 AM CDT July 16, 2019 in Top Stories
STURGEON- The annual Boone County Fair kicks off Tuesday, and will host a variety of events from Tuesday to Saturday,... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, July 16 2019 Jul 16, 2019 Tuesday, July 16, 2019 9:56:00 AM CDT July 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The National Weather Service is predicting the heat index to get up to 109 degrees Wednesday. Columbia... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, July 16 2019 Jul 16, 2019 Tuesday, July 16, 2019 9:46:00 AM CDT July 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Former Missouri swimming coach Greg Rhodenbaugh is no longer working for the university and a Title... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, July 16 2019 Jul 16, 2019 Tuesday, July 16, 2019 9:13:00 AM CDT July 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — A drug bust by Moniteau County deputies ended with one suspect in the hospital on suspicion of a... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, July 15 2019 Jul 15, 2019 Monday, July 15, 2019 9:32:00 PM CDT July 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Maries County deputies arrested Cheryl “Lynn” Fales and Charles R. Fales, of St James for two counts of... More >>
23 hours ago Monday, July 15 2019 Jul 15, 2019 Monday, July 15, 2019 8:07:00 PM CDT July 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The City of Columbia Water & Light will be holding a public meeting Wednesday from 6 to 7:30... More >>
1 day ago Monday, July 15 2019 Jul 15, 2019 Monday, July 15, 2019 6:32:00 PM CDT July 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – The Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) is suing the University of Missouri, claiming the school overcharged the group when... More >>
1 day ago Monday, July 15 2019 Jul 15, 2019 Monday, July 15, 2019 6:19:00 PM CDT July 15, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The first major heat wave of the summer is approaching Missouri and the Midwest. Starting Wednesday and continuing... More >>
1 day ago Monday, July 15 2019 Jul 15, 2019 Monday, July 15, 2019 4:56:00 PM CDT July 15, 2019 in Weather
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander is starting a job at a nonprofit for veterans.... More >>
1 day ago Monday, July 15 2019 Jul 15, 2019 Monday, July 15, 2019 4:04:00 PM CDT July 15, 2019 in News
COLUMIBA - Gas prices jumped up thirty cents overnight on Thursday. Director of Marketing and Communications of GasBuddy Allison... More >>
1 day ago Monday, July 15 2019 Jul 15, 2019 Monday, July 15, 2019 10:26:00 AM CDT July 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mayor Brian Treece officially announced John Glascock as Columbia's official City Manager. The announcement happened at 11... More >>
1 day ago Monday, July 15 2019 Jul 15, 2019 Monday, July 15, 2019 6:47:00 AM CDT July 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The Camden County Sheriff's department has confirmed federal aviation officials will investigate a skydiving accident that injured one... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, July 14 2019 Jul 14, 2019 Sunday, July 14, 2019 8:01:00 PM CDT July 14, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Five were injured after a boat explosion Saturday afternoon at the fueling dock of Kings River Marina. ... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, July 14 2019 Jul 14, 2019 Sunday, July 14, 2019 7:23:00 PM CDT July 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri River at Jefferson City is now back below minor flood stage as of Saturday afternoon,... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, July 14 2019 Jul 14, 2019 Sunday, July 14, 2019 7:01:00 PM CDT July 14, 2019 in Continuous News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 86°
8pm 83°
9pm 80°
10pm 79°
11pm 77°