Leaders Seek "Community Effort" Following Rap Video Release - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Leaders Seek "Community Effort" Following Rap Video Release

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SALISBURY, Md. – The disturbing YouTube video, the Jungle, involving weapons, drinking, drugs, and even threats now has nearly 5,000 views.

The video was uploaded October 11th by Dover Dale Entertainment, also known as DDE, made up of young men from the Dover Dale community in Salisbury.

"Stop the Violence," a non-profit youth center that provides a variety of educational and active after-school activities for all ages in the Salisbury area, is located just around the corner from where some of the scenes were filmed. Organizers with the group say this is something that they work to thwart every single day.

"We're all incredibly sad and a little stunned by it," says Nina East, a board member with Stop the Violence. "This just goes to show we need this program in our community, we need these kids to have somewhere to go."

All eight men in the video, and others behind the scenes, are involved in a multi-agency investigation led by Salisbury Police, after a series of minor assaults, narcotic sales, and vehicle thefts in the area last Spring. Some of those involved with the video reportedly have no prior convictions.

"We've come into contact with some of these kids in their earlier ages, I've coached a few of them," says Jermichael Mitchell, program director of Stop the Violence. "A lot of them were in our school system at one point in time and they graduated from high school and have moved on and are working in the work force in our community."

Although Mitchell understands the concern that the video has sparked, he was not personally alarmed when he saw it. He feels that because the video was clearly professionally made, the young men are emulating rappers that started off making videos in their home town, and were able to get a record deal.

"That was again their way out of their community, and I believe that's what these young gentlemen are trying to do. I feel more or less it's just an outlet, that ‘rags to riches' story."

Experts feel that social media is making a huge impact on the factor of "socializing," and that the main source of the problem for these kids may be their home lives.

"For children who's parents for a variety of different reasons cannot be involved or are not involved in their lives, as social beings they seek out other ways to receive acceptance, to build their self-esteem," says Dr. Michael Finegan, executive director of Peninsula Mental Health Service. "Some of these kids have found the lyrics of violence, of inappropriate sexual activity, of aggressiveness  to build their self-esteem."

While law enforcement are taking the appropriate steps, community leaders collectively agree that there needs to be more of a group action.

"One of our problems is that we are so fragmented in our society," says Dr. Finegan. "We all have to work together."

"We've got to get involved as a community," says Mitchell. "It takes a community effort, the school system, the parents, community outreaches, everybody has to work to save our children, and give them other paths to make it."

Both Mitchell and East say that Stop the Violence provide these outlets for the youth in the community, but in order to be able to do more of it, they need all of the help they can get. For more information on their services, and how you can help, check out their website.

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