In honor of National Gun Violence Awareness Month in June, Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. teams in Delaware and Pennsylvania are collaborating with the Soul Box Project, a nationwide, community art project, to raise awareness of the gunfire epidemic.
YAP is a national nonprofit in 35 states and Washington D.C., that partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, and public safety systems to provide community-based services as an alternative to youth incarceration, residential care, and neighborhood violence.
With the help of program participants, YAP Delaware, along with YAP in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties in Pennsylvania, plan to create hand-folded and personalized paper Soul Boxes. Soul Boxes hold a space for a gunfire victim with a name, an image, or a message of protest and hope. Below is when local YAP offices will showcase the Soul Boxes during “Enough is Enough…Stop Gun Violence in Our Communities” events:
YAP Philadelphia County
June 7, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. at 900 W. Jefferson St. in Philadelphia.
YAP Delaware County, Pa.
June 13, 2023 at 5 p.m. at 2619 W 9th St. in Chester, Pa.
June 22, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Brown/Burton/Winchester Park, 2313 N. Locust St. in Wilmington, Del.
“Youth Advocate Programs is proud to partner with Soul Box to bring awareness to gun violence in our communities,” said YAP Mid-Atlantic Region Executive Vice President Lynette Connor. “Gun violence affects us all and I am proud that our local programs - that work with youth and young people to provide alternatives to violence - are providing programming to help eradicate violence caused by guns.”
National Gun Violence Awareness Month includes Wear Orange weekend on June 2-4 where events are held across the nation to raise awareness of the gun epidemic. The Soul Box Project invites individuals or organizations to participate in activities and displays to acknowledge the month. Soul Boxes can bring solace to individuals and encourage sharing and healing within our community.
Every day, Americans confront the impact of gun violence in their communities. Gunfire killed over 44,000 people in the U.S. in 2022. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, Delaware has the fifth highest gun violence rate in the U.S., and an average of 1,713 people die by guns in Pennsylvania.,
Learn more about YAP and how you can be involved at yapinc.org and follow the nonprofit on Twitter @YAPInc.
Of Note, YAP supports Children’s Defense Fund and others advocating for common sense gun safety and gun violence prevention measures: universal background checks, prohibiting firearm access to high-risk people, access prevention laws, child safety features for every gun, banning assault weapons and funding for gun violence prevention research.
About Soul Box:
Portland, Ore., artist Leslie Lee created The Soul Box Project after the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017. It has become a nationwide, community art project designed to reveal the extent of the U.S. gunfire epidemic by creating and displaying thousands of small origami Soul Boxes as memorials for gunfire victims.
The Project displayed 200,000 Soul Boxes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in 2021. The exhibit, titled This Loss We Carry, vividly illustrated the staggering number of U.S. victims of gunfire violence, defense, accidents, and suicides in less than 3 years.
Portions of the D.C. exhibit are now being distributed – by request and free of charge – to any individual, group or organization who can use this dramatic visual to bolster their work to end gun violence.