March 12, 2007 State Attorney Norm Wolfinger Names Winners In 2007 Rap Against Violence Contest

State Attorney Norman Wolfinger announced today the winners of the 2007 Rap Against Violence Contest and congratulated the 14 Central Floridians who penned 10 songs promoting gun violence prevention messages. The winners come from Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties.

As part of their prize, the songs will be professionally recorded and mixed and CD’s produced which will be distributed through the five county area. Winners will also be interviewed and their songs aired on 102 JAMZ radio. The winners will star in a series of Public Service Announcements which will be aired on Brighthouse Network Channels.

This is the second year for the Rap Against Violence Contest, a program State Attorney Norm Wolfinger started as a preventive community outreach program among young people—the age group most at risk for gun violence. The contest falls under his Operation Cease-Fire program which focuses on speedy prosecution and hefty prison terms for armed criminals. At the same time that his prosecutors were convicting 50 violent firearms defendants, he sought a way to present a positive message designed to change attitudes about gun crimes.

The contest winners are the "messengers" Wolfinger sought to spark the change in their generation. This year’s contest carries the additional advice to "Develop, Not Destroy" our neighborhoods. Partnering with Wolfinger in the effort are: 102 JAMZ, Brighthouse Networks, the Brevard, Seminole, Orange and Osceola County Sheriff’s Offices, Crimeline, State Attorney Lawson Lamar and Big Shot Studios in Altamonte Springs.

"I salute these talented young artists and deeply appreciate the contribution they are making to their community and their generation. They are our hope for a peaceful tomorrow," Wolfinger said.

More than 130 entrants submitted original rap or hip-hop songs that carried a gun violence prevention message. A panel of judges which included Orlando Magic’s Bo Outlaw, former Drifters vocalist Joe Davis, the Mayor’s Safe Orlando Task Force Chairman Dr. Stanley Stone, and a host of 102 JAMZ stars selected the winning songs on Feb. 28. Over the past week, Wolfinger and his staff have traveled to each winner’s home to announce their selection. The entire group will meet tonight at the Radisson University Hotel on Alafaya Trail from 7 until 9 p.m. to finalize the production schedule and learn other details of their prizes.

The winners are:
  • From Brevard County, Jared Burgos, 15, Palm Bay; Tommy Bailey, 16, Palm Bay.
  • From Seminole, Shenikwa (2Shae) Daniels,16, Altamonte Springs; the group IBX composed of Raphael Polk, 17, Lake Mary, Hector Salazar, 17, Sanford, Walter Walker II, 17, Lake Mary, Marlon Ponce, 16, Longwood.
  • From Orange County, Matthew Christian, 20, Orlando; a group composed of Marquis Garvin and Gilranus Vitalis, both 17 and from Orlando; Richard Jimenez, 28, Winter Park;
  • From Osceola, Ajay Dani, 24, Kissimmee.
  • From Volusia, Ryan Hawkins, 30, Deland; Sarah Anne Starchak, 15, Deltona.

Two of the winners—Shenikwa Daniels and Jared Burgos-- were also picked during last year’s contest. Additionally, Lillian Stabile, Deltona, co-wrote a winning song last year, as she did this year, but the songs are co-written and performed by different artists.

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