It was a busy inaugural Stop the Violence Day for Halifax anti-violence activist Quentrel Provo on Friday.
Provo and members of his group spent the day travelling throughout the city spreading random acts of kindness and meeting young students.
“We’re doing the opposite of violence and basically spreading the love and getting people to talk to the person next to them,” Provo said.
READ MORE: Halifax Police ask for no more retaliation in light of another fatal shooting
Stop the Violence Day was proclaimed at Province House earlier this week, after a passionate push by Provo.
His drive to promote peace began in 2012, when his cousin Kaylin Diggs was killed on a Halifax downtown street.
The recent rash of shootings and homicides in the city prompted him to create this day.
“It needs to be happening so we can raise violence awareness basically —; so we can be the voice of those victims that have passed on, those that have survived and those families that are still hurting,” he said.
The group started the day off by buying Tim Horton’s coffee and treats with donated gift cards, as a way to spark conversations about anti-violence.
“People instantly begin to smile and their body language is more open as well,” said Provo’s girlfriend, Alexis Fogarty.
“It’s a great way to be communicating with the city.”
READ MORE: Hundreds march in Halifax to end violence following week of 3 homicides
Provo also made a stop at St. Joseph’s-Alexander McKay Elementary School, where he spoke to students, sang with them and shared some hugs.
“If we start them off young, then we’re building good habits so when they get to junior high, when they get to high school, they have those habits to succeed,” he said.
Students seemed to be receptive to the message and spoke openly about how violence has affected their community.
“Lots of gun incidents have been going on. So other lives have been lost and family members have been sad about that and the community has been sad,” said Grade 6 student Kiez Verreault.
“I really think killing each other doesn’t help, so you should just stop.”
Provo hopes Stop the Violence Day will become an annual event and grow through the years. He’s also hoping it will be effective and eventually prevent future tragedies.