Speaking out against the violence: One Milwaukee teen's story
Posted: May 31, 2015 7:01 PM CST | Updated: May 31, 2015 8:17 PM CST
She's just 14, but Erica Lofton has a lot of accomplishments under her belt already. In her latest campaign, she hopes to end violence in Milwaukee by getting everyone to pledge that they will speak up against it and not be part of it; a movement she started today, here at Sobelman's.
\"It starts with the youth, and if the youth speak up, I'm pretty sure everyone else will listen,\" said Lofton.
Lofton is on a mission, first starting a group called, \"Girls in Action\" to help empower young women.
\"Our social group uses teamwork to promote manners, self esteem, social and communication skills,\" said Lofton.
Then taking her recruits and using them to spur social change, something her mom is quite proud of.
\"They came up with the idea to help with verbal violence, bullying in their schools, but the quote they came up with was universal,\" said Patricia Taylor.
My bracelet says, 'I don't commit violence, I speak out against it. All you have to do is say something and speak up against it,\" said Lofton.
Erica spent 600 dollars of her own money.
\"She won a dance competition and decided to donate a part to her own charity,\" said her mom.
Deciding the best way to hold Milwaukee accountable was to hand out free bracelets that they could wear as a reminder.
\"If they remember where the bracelet came from, the youth, that they'll remember there's youth in this predicament and I'm probably just going to wanna stop doing this,\" said Lofton.
It's a movement getting the attention of business and government leaders.
\"I think its great, I wish we had 1000 more like her,\" said Alderman Bob Donovan.
He, along with Erica, hope it sparks a wave of change in Milwaukee.
\"There are other people out here who don't have a voice or just don't want to speak up and I feel like I could be that person who can speak up for everyone in Milwaukee,\" said Lofton.
On Sunday, Sobelman's donated a dollar from each burger sold to the cause and the Packing House restaurant has also pledged donations to Erica's cause. She says all funds donated will be poured back into making more bracelets. You can visit her Facebook page, \"Girls in Action,\" here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Girls-in-Action-Inc