Three high school students representing both traditional public and charter schools in Buffalo are relishing their roles as the figurative "poster children" for nonviolence.
They earned top honors in a citywide poster contest sponsored by the Stop the Violence Coalition and were each acknowledged for their achievement Saturday during the coalition's third annual Awards Banquet in the New Golden Nugget, 2046 Fillmore Ave.
"We're trying to get inner-city youth engaged in our mission of nonviolence," said Tracy Cooley, community resource specialist for the Stop the Violence Coalition.
Cooley said the idea for the poster contest was developed during a conversation she had in December with Stop the Violence Coalition Co-chairwoman Marilyn Gibson about engaging inner-city youth.
The contest was open to all high schools in the city, resulting in 25 submissions and three top-place entries. All of the participants were challenged to come up with a design to illustrate the coalition's 2011 banquet theme, "From the Home to the Village," based on the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child."
Carlton Sanders, an 18-year-old senior at Western New York Maritime Charter School, 266 Genesee St., earned first place in the contest with his submission that featured a pen-and-ink sketch of an infant being raised up by many hands, along with the depiction of a stork delivering the Stop the Violence Coalition's logo. His submission was featured as the cover art for the coalition's banquet program this year.
"I love the message that it gave out, and I love the proverb 'It takes a village to raise a child,' " Carlton said. "Mainly, I was trying to say that it will take everyone's hands to get the violence out of children's lives."
In a brief phone interview with The Buffalo News before Saturday's banquet, Carlton confided that he had lost at least one friend to street violence.
"I've seen my share of violence, and then I've heard a lot of things," Carlton said. "I hope people will understand that in order to take violence out of this world, they all have to help out."
Anissa Ranson, a 16-year-old junior at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, was the second-place finisher. Anissa said she has not personally been touched by violence, but it is an issue that deeply concerns her. Anissa's poster featured a lone young man in the foreground, with the view of a sunset behind him.
Trinae Jamison, a student at Lafayette High School, took third place in the contest.
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