Russell Simmons urges South LA teens to ‘Keep the Peace’

Russel Simmons urges students to take a peace pledge at Dorsey High School. | Maddy Ewles

Russell Simmons urges students to take a peace pledge at Dorsey High School. | Madeline Ewles

By Madeline Ewles | Annenberg Radio News

Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Recordings, is known for making noise in the hip-hop scene. But at Dorsey High School in South L.A. on Wednesday, he urged students to be quiet in a four-minute meditation.

“I’m here to talk about peace,” Simmons told the group. “The groups that you join, the activities that you choose — they are part of being peaceful.”

Such choices are especially important during times of racial and political turmoil, he said, such as the response to the police shootings of Black men in Ferguson, New York and Los Angeles. His mission is to instill a pledge among young people — a pledge to “keep the peace” and stay away from violence.

Dorsey senior Marcell Richardson said he meditated for the first time and hoped to bring the practice to his family.

“I have a lot of stress around my house,” said Richardson. “Telling people this how you can relieve stress and relieve negativity is very powerful.”

Other students like senior Eureca Morti have already incorporated meditation practice into their lifestyle. She said listening to Simmons reassured her that it has many benefits.

“All the noise around you is what interrupts you and stops you from seeing the beauty outside,” she said.

The peace pledge was sponsored by Simmons’ company, RushCard, which offers consumers prepaid credit cards who may not have access to a traditional bank account.

RushCard created the “Keep the Peace” initiative, a national grant program that supports non-profits like Community Coalition, which helped put on today’s event.

Simmons also announced he’s going to give the Dorsey library with copies of his best selling books, including Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All. 

Listen to his comments in a story from Annenberg Radio News:

Watch Russell Simmons meet with students at Dorsey in a video from Annenberg TV News

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