By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Saturday, June 25, Stop the Violence, an Oklahoma City nonprofit dedicated to teaching children and teenagers ways to avoid violence, will host its 2nd annual Bands on the Run 5K. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Stars and Stripes Park, 3701 S Lake Hefner Drive.
Registration and race packet pick up will begin at 8:15 a.m. The event will include options for runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes.
Proceeds from the run will cover the cost for children to attend the next Stop the Violence Prevention Camp, which will take place in July.
“We call it a ‘run, walk or stroll,’” said Kuinten Rucker, executive director of Stop the Violence. “By entering the 5K, participants will be helping these kids come to our Stop the Violence camps for free. This is how we’re able to make it happen every year.”
Rucker founded Stop the Violence when the deadly effects of unchecked aggression impacted his family.
“This all came about because of a situation that occurred on Mother’s Day, 2010,” Rucker said. “My little cousin, Kruz Laviolette, was killed.
Rucker recalls that Kruz stepped in to break up a fight that he witnessed happening in the middle of the street. While returning to his car, Kruz was shot in the back.
“His little sister and brother, who were in elementary and high school at the time, were in his car when he was shot,” Rucker stated. Laviolette’s murder left his then-2-year-old son without a father.
This tragic event moved Rucker to inspire young people to choose positive behavior over negative actions that lead to violence.
“I looked for ways that we could get the kids involved in Stop the Violence,” Rucker said. “And the first initiatives we thought of were dance and singing.”
Rucker, a.k.a. DJ K-Ruck, used his experience as a DJ on BET’s 106 and Park and his performances with rappers such as Bow Wow and Bun B, to create a performance-based program that gives Oklahoma children a chance to express themselves positively.
“We started dance camps, which are really leadership camps with dance moves and singing,” Rucker said. “Beginning with that first set of kids in 2010, we taught them violence prevention and talked with them about bullying, suicide prevention and what it means to be safe.
“It’s about setting examples and showing kids the possibilities that exist beyond the problems they might be experiencing every day of their lives. It’s positive all around, and it’s making a difference.”
Adult 5K Run/Walk/Stroller registration costs $40 from June 2-21. Race day registration is $50. Registration includes a Stop The Violence running shirt.
The Child 5K Run/Walk/Stroller fee is $20 from June 2-21. Race day registration will be $25. Online Registration will close on June 21 at 8 p.m.
The $20 entry fee will cover the cost for children attending Stop the Violence’s next camp, which will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., July 18-23 at Douglass High School, 900 N. Martin Luther King Ave., in Oklahoma City.
Performances by DJ K-Ruck, singer Devin Lewis, jazz musician Gordon Lizama, and rock band Kittie in the Middle will be featured at various points along the 5K course.
“We realize that this is just one avenue toward a solution to the plight of our youth,” said Rucker. “We believe in long-term plans, cooperating businesses, charitable organizations, community churches, state and local governing bodies working together with one goal in mind… our youth.”
A mini-festival will also be held at Stars & Stripes Park following the race.
The STV prevention program is not only for at-risk youth, but is available for all youth from ages 4-18. STV also hosts programs for adults.
“We work with youth from all backgrounds, because at the end of the day, violence can take place anytime, any place, anywhere and to anyone,” Rucker said.
Registration for the Bands on the Run 5K is now available online. To become an event sponsor or vendor, call 405-326-3621 or send a text to #stv2016.
“No matter how good the neighborhood is, no matter how good the school is, there is always the possibility for negative energy to take hold,” Rucker said. “With Stop the Violence, our mission is to defuse that negative energy.”
To make a donation or for more information about Stop the Violence, visit stoptheviolenceok.com