Child of inmate uses art to stop violence

(CNN) – Fifth grader Martaves Keys shares a name with a father he hardly knows.

He says he doesn’t remember what happened when his dad was arrested, but he knows an act of violence stole years of memories he feels he’s missing.

Now, Martaves wants to do anything he can to make sure other kids don’t go through the same pain, “If their parents get killed, they don’t have nowhere to go.”

That’s why with the help of four Waterloo officers kids are hanging these all over town.

It’s an expansion of a project that started with this giant painted peace sign in front of the Walter Cunningham School for excellence.

Now smaller versions will hang from light poles all over and even though the students drilled officer Jeffery Harrington with rapid fire questions.

He says the kids’ motivation to help, even in little ways, is inspiring, “They’re concerned about their community as well as adults are.

Martaves and his classmates say they hope when a person drives by these signs, they remember one thing, “Don’t use violence to solve problems.”

“It makes me sad because one day, someone else getting shot like that, like either their friend or it could be their family member,” said 4th grader Ethan Gray.

Family members like Martaves’s dad, a person he says he misses every day.

The initiative to hang the peace signs came a day after authorities in Waterloo said seven people had been arrested on federal firearms and ammunition charges.

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