STOCKTON – Summer is right around the corner and so is the end of the school year. One Stockton man’s concern for what teens will do with their free time lead to “Balloons over Bullets.”
Demar Johnson hopes that teens stay away from violence and turn towards something positive.
Friday was Johnson’s first venture into his Balloons Over Bullets campaign, meant to encourage teens to stay away from violence this summer and instead, just be a kid.
“You can’t come at kids like you did 10 years ago. Right now, they need the fun because they are seeing less and less of it,” said Johnson.
Johnson was born and raised in Stockton and through his artist name, “Spook D. Lieutenant,” has popped up around town for years promoting positivity through rapping.
But he says now he wants to reach out to kids because summer presents an opportunity for teens to get into trouble; he wants to break that cycle in Stockton by encouraging them to take back the streets and have fun, while spreading a positive message.
“Balloons over bullets. I’d rather you all get hit by balloons then bullets,” said Johnson. “I’d rather y’all out here in the summer having fun than doing anything else. The kids, they are maturing faster nowadays and that’s what we need to attack. We need to remind them that it’s ok to be kids,” he said.
When the battle ended, Johnson preached his message, balloons over bullets, which several teens said really resonated with them. For Johnson, he knows it will take thousands of balloons, but it's a message he is prepared to spend all summer sharing.
“If you walk outside your house every day and see a sign of life, like a garden, kids playing, smiles, then that’s going to leave something too, and that’s my goal with this,” said Johnson.
Johnson plans to pop up in other spots around Stockton before the school year is over, in hopes that this movement will gain momentum into the summer.