‘Better Selma’ campaign envisions nonviolent city

Published 12:52 pm Friday, March 29, 2019

Mark Myles, an organizer at the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation (CNTR), has a vision of a Selma where gun violence is a thing of the past and a spirit of unity is fostered among people of all walks of life.

“I have a lot of friends that have been affected by gun violence,” Myles said. “I believe we’re violent because we’re taught to be violent. My dream is to have a nonviolent city.”

To that end, Myles has launched the “Better Selma” campaign, bolstered by a hip-hop collaboration between some of the Queen City’s most prominent local talent.

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The track was produced by DJ Deadly and includes the lyrical stylings of Chris Gee, Gee Rowe, E Heard, Gab, Cet Distic, Amp and Murda Mil.

The song contrasts the realities of modern day Selma with the vision for a city of harmony and is available on all major platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes.

“It was beautiful to see everything come together,” Myles said of the track. “We just want to bring a renaissance of thought.”

Using the song as an avenue for conversation, Myles and his collaborators have begun taking their message to local schools and talking with students about conflict resolution and nonviolence.

“We just believe we’re better together,” Myles said. “Selma changed the world, we believe we can do it again.”

While Myles intends to direct his message of hope to young people in Selma, he also has plans of bringing that message to the wider population with a variety of performances and other community events.

Recently, Myles and company partnered with other organizations to help clean up the city.

Myles invoked the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when talking about the inspiration for the song and the movement he hopes it will spur.

While the campaign currently centers around the song, Myles envisions something more that includes a variety of community partnerships and he is determined to see that dream become a reality in the coming months.

“We have lost too many friends and loved ones to violence,” Myles said. “We envision a city without gun violence where we work together for the overall good of the community. The most important part is making sure we are creating a culture of unity.”