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Detroit community activist speaks out against violence as weather warms up

“My message is accountability. People need to be accountable for their actions,” says Oliver Gantt

'Think before you act': Detroit activist calls for common sense to end violence
'Think before you act': Detroit activist calls for common sense to end violence

DETROIT – One community activist with the Thousands Strong organization is hoping that Detroiters take a step back and think before they act.

“We’ve got irrational minds right now. We have people not thinking before they react, and these are the things that can lead one easily to prison or an early grave,” said Oliver Gantt.

Gantt has a message he believes every Detroiter needs to hear.

“My message is accountability. People need to be accountable for their actions. If you’re going out to have fun, have fun responsibly,” he said.

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He said a combination of large crowds and heat, along with everyone being on lockdown for over a year, is a recipe for disaster if people do not consider their actions.

“I know what it’s like ... That’s mainly the reason why I stand here and do what I do today and also deterring people from going to prison,” said Gantt, who spent decades in prison for a crime committed in the heat of the moment.

Gantt created Thousands Strong while serving a 20-year sentence in hopes of sparing others from a life of incarceration or death. Life can change because of one bad decision, he said.

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“My hope is to deter somebody from entering the judicial system first and foremost, and winding up in prison or early grave because they’re not thinking before they react out here,” he said.

He also wants those behind the wheel to drive rationally as well.

“We’ve got a lot of people that want to come in their nice cars, their fast cars, want to ride their four-wheeler and motorcycles. Again, you have to be accountable for what you do because we still have citizens out here that are driving civilized out here. They want to make it back home to their families have to have a good time,” he said.

Gantt said he’s working with the community to hold workshops and have more people learn about conflict prevention and different techniques that can be used to diffuse situations.


About the Author:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.