KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Most teenagers spend their spring break hanging out with friends or playing video games. But for four talented teenagers in Kalamazoo, they wanted to spend their break giving back to the community. Kamaria and the Hottest Around Boyz dance group held a bash to honor and raise money for a local hero.
“Tonight is going to be about Tiana [Carruthers],” said singer Kamaria. “How she saved the kids from those bullets. It could’ve been anyone of us and we’re just tired of the violence that’s been going around.”
During the Kalamazoo shootings in February, Carruthers bravely used her body to shield children from gunfire. They were walking home from an afternoon at the park when a gunman opened fire and she shouted at the kids to run. The teens don't know Carruthers or her family. But they were inspired by her actions and now look up to her.
“I would consider her a big hero because that could’ve been anybody,” said Kingwon of the Hottest Around Boyz. “That could’ve been me or you. So yes I consider her a big hero. She is my hero.”
The event was called the “Stop the Violence: All Lives Matter” bash and over 150 people, from middle school students to high schoolers, packed out Frasiers Lounge in Kalamazoo. Everyone paid $3 to get in and all the money raised will go directly to Carruthers’ GoFundMe page. As excited as they were to perform in front of a full house, the teens hope people will get the broader message of maintaining unity and peace in the community.
“We’re just dancing to give back to the youth,” said Tarik Anderson. “Show everybody that we can be positive. We can do something for our community. It’s not all about the violence all the time.”