While working in Austin over the years, we learned that the local hip-hop scene was thriving and very popular with teens. To harness that energy, we planned a yearly event called Riot-the-Silence 2 End Dating Violence to incorporate the local music scene into our efforts to raise awareness about teen dating violence.
We invited local artists, like The Cipher – Austin’s Hip Hop Project and Public Offenders, to perform original songs about topics relating to healthy relationships, gender stereotypes, and oppression. The energy was incredible—hundreds of kids attended the event all three years we hosted it. Seeing local artists invested in this issue grabbed kids’ attention in a whole new way. Many students were still talking about the performances days later at school and with family at home.