The key to peace is in your pants

A curious flier recently made its way to the office of The Pitch. “Say Yes To Peace,” it proclaims. “Pull  Up Your Pants.”

The man behind the flier is Ozell Lincoln, a 42-year-old computer programmer who was inspired to take action against violence in the urban core after a friend was killed in 2002. He’s working on getting 501(c)(3) status for his new organization, Say Yes to Peace, which aims to help young people find housing, gain a GED or college tuition, and afford better clothing and transportation. 

The “Pull up your pants” campaign, Lincoln says, is a message he takes directly to younger people. As one might expect, most aren’t eager to hear it at first. “They look at it as a direct attack on them,” Lincoln says.

According to Lincoln, the initial conversation usually goes something like this:

Lincoln: Why do you sag your pants?
Sagger: It’s just fashion. It’s more comfortable.
Lincoln: Well, if it’s not so important really, why is it so offensive for older people to ask you to pull up your pants?
Sagger: They’re trying to tell me I can’t be me.
Lincoln: Do you see how it might be offensive to others when you’re showing your underwear outside your pants?
Sagger: Other people shouldn’t care what I do.

“I try not to preach at ’em, that doesn’t work,” Lincoln says. “Usually, we get to the point of them saying, ‘Well, I guess it doesn’t make a big difference to me, so I’ll

try (not sagging).”

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