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Chaka Khan to speak on gun violence
American R&B music superstar Chaka Khan is scheduled to give the feature address at a symposium on gun violence at City Hall, Port-of-Spain, tomorrow from 10 am. Hosted by Nu Wave Entertainment, the symposium is being held to mark the launch of the company's corporate social responsibility initiative.
Nicola Harvey, adviser and co-ordinator of the symposium, said Nu Wave felt there was an urgent need to give back to the society and help make T&T a better place. Harvey said Khan is expected to give a motivational and inspirational speech, as she has personally felt the effects of gun violence first-hand. The two-hour symposium will examine the effects of gun violence on the families and friends of victims.
In 2004, Khan’s son, Damien Patrick Holland, shot to death his 18-year-old friend. The incident took place at Holland’s apartment where the two men struggled for control over a gun, which discharged a bullet and struck the victim. Holland was acquitted of the killing in 2006.
“Chaka advocates for things like this. She tends to give a voice to those voices that are not heard,” Harvey said. Harvey said the multi-platinum recording artiste, who will headline the Every Woman Mother’s Day Concert on Saturday at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, continues to be very vocal on issues involving gun violence.
She said Khan has also spoken out on the highly-publicised Trayvon Martin case, in which 17-year-old Martin was fatally shot by neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida on February 26. “She is a mother, too, and knows what it’s like to be affected by gun violence. She can therefore share with us how she has been able to survive,” Harvey added.
The symposium will also include a panel discussion to be led by head of the Police Victim and Witness Support Unit, Margaret Sampson-Browne, and will feature various community groups including the We Are Better Youth (WABY) of Laventille. “We have lost a lot of young people to gun violence. It’s one of our main crime problems in this country. We need to focus on this,” she said.
Harvey said Gender Youth and Child Development Minister Verna St Rose Greaves is also expected to attend the symposium.
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