Gun violence is an ever-growing issue within the United States. According to the organization Everytown for Gun Safety, 100 Americans lose their lives to gun violence daily and hundreds more are shot and injured. A Washington, D.C.-based teenager is on a mission to address the problem through the creation of an apparel brand, Because of Them We Can reported.
RuQuan Brown launched a clothing line called Love1. Through his brand, he sells shirts, hoodies, wristbands, stickers and other accessories to support communities that have been ravaged by gun violence. A percentage of his sales are donated to the New Jersey-based organization One Gun Gone; a gun violence prevention public art project which buys guns out of communities and transforms them into art pieces. “Our goal has been to take one gun off the street, make artwork from it and then sell that artwork to raise money to buy more guns off the streets with a police sanctioned gun buyback,” read the project’s website.
For Brown, launching Love1 and collaborating with One Gun Gone was personal. His stepfather and teammate were both shot and killed. The tragedies motivated Brown to take action. “My company is called Love1. I started it to honor the lives of my teammate and stepdad, who were murdered a year apart. I wanted to beat gun violence to the punch so that our families don’t have to continuously fall victim to tragic losses,” he told Because of Them We Can in an interview. “We’re eliminating a small fragment of the problem in order to reduce the amount of our loved ones being taken from us.”
Brown is not only leading by example in his local community through his activism, but he’s also making strides academically. He has been accepted into 24 colleges, including seven Ivy League institutions, and has garnered 16 scholarships. He’s also a star athlete and is a part of his school’s track and football teams.