TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Real talk about gun violence from people who know firsthand.
A message of anti-violence for students at one Leon County school, the violence must stop and it begins with you.
For many young men at Godby High School, that means the choice between picking up a gun and choosing a life of violence or staying on the right path.
Speakers at the Leon County Schools Anti-violence rally like Rattler Head Coach, Willie Simmons shared their personal experiences of losing loved ones to guns.
"To hear those stories, to see real life people who can tell those stories, that you may look up to, I think goes a long way to making these young men understand how serious this is," said Simmons.
Kevin Warren, CEO of The Life Group, says saying no to guns, negative people and the criminal lifestyle is the difference between surviving and thriving.
Superintendent Rocky Hanna says he thinks the young men are listening.
"It starts with them - they have to be the ones to take the lead and say enough with the violence and to say no when they are approached by people who want to do harmful things to others," said Hanna.
And listening they are.
"I learned that where you are from doesn't determine your outcome, how you live," said Jaden Jefferson, student at Godby High.
Hard truth and inspiration and something else the speakers mentioned, love. A message that goes a long way toward stopping the violence.
"I hope that today they were able to connect themselves to hope. And know that their lives are valuable and we need them to survive and thrive at the same time," said Warren.
Many of the 9th and 10th grade boys who were at the assembly on Tuesday said they know someone who has been the victim of gun violence.
This is the second anti-violence assembly Leon County Schools has held. The first was at Griffin Middle School.
LCS plans to continue holding these across the district.