Youth-led advocacy day is nationally coordinated by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Milwaukee youth last week joined thousands of kids across the country who took part in Kick Butts Day, a nationwide initiative in which kids lead the effort to stop youth tobacco use.
“Tobacco companies make smoking look cool in their ads, but that’s nothing but a lie,” said Asia Allen, 15. “I was sad to learn about how many African American people die because of tobacco, so I’m looking forward to being able to do something about it.”
As part of the Kick Butts Day celebration, the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (www.waatpn.org) and the City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance has teamed up with local teens from the Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club to literally “air out the tobacco industry’s dirty laundry” outside the Club, 3000 N. Sherman Blvd, March 21st, To air out tobacco’s dirty laundry, the youth will visually express their feelings about tobacco on 123 t-shirts that they will hang on clotheslines during rush hour for drivers and bystanders to see.
Each year, 45,000 African Americans die from a tobacco related illness, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids. Sadly, this amounts to 123 African American deaths per day. Each t-shirt hung on the clothesline will represent a life and help residents visualize the magnitude of this statistic.
“Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death,” emphasized Michael Campbell, project manager, Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN). “Getting youth involved in tobacco related advocacy is not only a great way to help educate youth and the community, but it is also a great way to prevent future generations from addiction and preventable death.”
“Our youths are ecstatic about this day and they’ve been diligently preparing for it,” said Gregory Ware, manager of the Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club. “The partnership with WAATPN, the event and this critical cause all fit our mission of inspiring and empowering all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”