Lifelong trumpet player and New Orleans native Shamarr Allen is aiming to enrich his community with the sounds of the brass while removing illegal guns from the streets of the Crescent City.
A GoFundMe campaign started by Allen, a former touring member of Galactic, last month has already raised almost $40,000 as of August 4th, surpassing its much more modest original goal of just $6,500. The fundraising campaign is based around Allen’s “The Trumpet is My Weapon” gun exchange program, which trades trumpets and music books in exchange for guns brought in by New Orleans youth, which are then turned over to New Orleans Police Department and dismantled.
Allen was fueled in his initiative to remove gun violence in his community following a shooting back on July 13th which saw the death of a nine-year-old boy. “As the father of a 9-year-old son, I thought how easy it could have been for that to be my own son. Much like a lot of the gun violence happening in my city by young people, it is heartbreaking to know and see this happening to our kids,” Allen says on the GoFundMe page.
Allen goes on to explain,
As a child, and adolescent who grew up in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, I have experienced and engaged in things that individuals at that age should not have to endure. What saved me and redirected my path was a trumpet, the music, and culture of the city that it connected me with. It showed me that success, connections, and differences can be managed through self-expression. When I needed money to take care of myself, I played my horn in the French Quarters for tips and eventually that grew into a full on music career traveling the world. If I became upset I expressed that through song. The trumpet became a weapon that really saved my life, so I figured it may be able to have the same impact for another young person from New Orleans.
The Trumpet Is My Weapon is a mantra that I have used over the years. I began using that mantra because the trumpet really became my weapon and tool for my success. It has opened doors and sent me places that as a kid from the Lower 9th Ward, statistics say I should have never been. The goal of The Trumpet Is My Weapon Campaign and Gun Exchange Program is to put trumpets, and eventually other instruments, in the hands of our kids so that they can use it as their weapon and tool for success while taking guns off the street at the same time.
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Thank you @carolbrass_tw @carolbrass.iberoamerica for donating two brand new trumpets to the “Trumpet is my Weapon” program. On top of that, they’re giving me all other instruments for the program at cost. Relationships are more valuable than money. I’ve been endorsed by them for years. I understand why we picked eachother now. #TrueOrleans