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Laddie Gillett inspires Raquel-ART’s ‘No More Silence, End Gun Violence’ Exhibition in Belmopan

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Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2021. 3:09 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Raquel-ART School

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Fourteen-year-old Laddie Gillett who was shot to death by a policeman in Placencia in June was the inspiration for the Raquel-ART school’s ‘No More Silence, End Gun Violence’ Exhibition held at the MICH Museum in Belmopan on Monday, said Raquel Rodriguez.

The founder of the art school, Rodriguez said that many of the children at Raquel-Art knew Laddie personally, so they were very much affected by his senseless murder. Though Gillett was killed in Placencia, he was from Camalote and attended the Belize Christian Academy in Belmopan

“His death was an impact on us at the school because a lot of the students who went to my school during that time and even now, either met Laddie, went to school with Laddie or know a relative of Laddie,” said Rodriguez.

“Belmopan is a very small, tight community, so when he passed away, he took a big chunk of our hearts. It affected everybody. The kids in my school were crying.”

“We kept saying in class it’s not just Laddie. Lots of other kids are dying or are being affected by the gun.”

Guest speaker Gary Gentle spoke on gun safety and the misuse of guns.

“We could not go off 2021 without giving a tribute to all the kids who died in 2021 from the gun,” said Rodriguez.

“There’s one thing I teach my kids, you want to be an artist you need to express yourself on matters that really and truly count. Matters like this,’ she said.

Rodriguez said the students of her school had been preparing for the exhibition for the last three months.

“We did nine portraits of kids under eighteen who were victims of gun violence,” said Rodriguez.

“We had to do this one last thing … we think that we should go out there with this campaign and saying no more, no more guns, no more violence. Everybody, put down your guns.”

Minister of Education Francis Fonseca who visited the exhibition on Monday was impressed with the work of the students of Raquel-ART.

“Congratulations to Raquel and her very impressive young students,” said Minister Fonseca on social media. “Ending the scourge of Gun Violence which continues to plague our beautiful Belizean Society will require all of us to be engaged on the frontlines of the fight. It is absolutely inspiring to see our young artists take a stand on this important national social issue.”

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