MUSIC WITH A POSITIVE MESSAGE: SUMMER CONCERT SERIES ENGAGES BLACK AND HISPANIC INNER CITY YOUTH

Music with A Positive Message-Organizers focus on bridging the gap between youth & law enforcement and on reducing HIV transmission amongst minority teenagers in Austin

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AUSTIN, TEXAS — It all started in 1997 when an Austin rap artist and youth leader saw the need for youth to be engaged in positive activities during the summer months.  Jump On It, a free summer concert series, was mounted featuring local performers and community related activities. City organizations and local police were invited to interact with teenagers, many of whom were minorities and from poor areas of Austin’s inner city. The event ran every week during the summer through 2004, until the organizer’s music career took off.

This year Jump On It (JOI) resumes the past popular summer-long concert series. The newly installed series will be held every Friday beginning June 26th through August 14th, from 6pm to 10 pm at Downs Mabson Field (2816 E. 12th St. 78702). JOI serves as a safe haven for thousands of inner city youth and provides a fun and engaging entertainment-oriented hub to bring needed resources to the fingertips of the youth and their families. Attendees are asked to make a donation of $5 per adult or $1 for children under 12 yrs old, which is in place to ensure the event’s success.  However, attendees can enter for free after taking one of the health screenings that is available each week.

“We want to give our kids a safe, positive alternative to getting into trouble during the summer,” says NOOK. “We also want to connect them with community services, positive interaction with law enforcement and let them know how to prevent the spread of HIV in our communities.”

There is the alarming trend of new HIV cases amongst minority teens in Travis County and Texas.  According to a report released in 2014 by the Texas Department of State Health Services, the age groups with the highest increase in new diagnoses are young people age 15 – 24 years. Black males and females experienced a disproportionately higher rate of deaths due to HIV, at more than three times the overall state rate, and five times that of Hispanics or Whites.  While the number of new HIV diagnoses in Whites has declined over the past decade, the number among Hispanics has been rising to numbers similar to hose reported for Blacks. (source: 2013 Texas STD and HIV Epidemiologic Profile).

In its heyday, JOI became a community tradition that teenagers and their families looked forward to each week, says NOOK. “By working with local kids and highlighting local talent, the new series gives the next generation a sense of tradition that has been lacking in Austin for over a decade.” In collaboration with the African American Cultural Heritage District and Austin Healthy Adolescents Program (AHA), this year’s event is being held at the historic Downs Field. NOOK believes this location will help to highlight the area’s history and let the youth know their heritage and the foundation that their grandparents and great grandparents built.

NOOK says they still need monetary support to produce the series and are open to receiving donations. Vendors, performers and volunteers are also needed and can contact the organizers at 512-348-8005, jumponitoutreach@gmail.com, jumponitevents.com

About Jump On It Summer Concert Series

• Eight (8) weeks of fun and engaging entertainment and information on life resources

• Many influential artists, speakers, and community leaders will perform and speak on topics relevant to today’s youth

• Resources include HIV testing, a platform to bridge the disconnect between black youth and law enforcement, health screening, voting registration, tutoring assistance, college scholarship opportunities, mentoring, job opportunities and other valuable resources all at no expense.

• With the alarming numbers of youth being infected with HIV, we plan to conduct over 1000 test in 8 weeks and provide so many more with information and resources on safe sex and the dangers of STDs.

Work directly with over 20 teen volunteers to plan, organize and facilitate the successful fruition of the 8 week entertainment series.

#jumponit, #innercityyouth #music #concertseries #summer #HIV #Ujimamagazine @paigeturna @shuronda @ujimamagazine

Contact: Shuronda Robinson, 512.297.9392
Damita MIller-Shanklin
damita@ujimamagazine.com

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