From weapons to works of art: getting guns off city streets

SAN FRANCISCO — This is all that’s left of the 188 weapons turned in as part of the recent gun buyback program hosted by the United Playaz, a Filipino-led anti-violence group based in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Police Department collected, disassembled these weapons, and are showing all these for the public to see.

“We want to make sure that the people see what’s actually happening with the guns, and so when we have our future gun buybacks people probably won’t be hesitant to turn in their guns, to see that they will be destroyed,” said Rudy Corpuz Jr., the founder.

Corpuz says they’re going beyond getting guns off the streets. They’re sending a strong message by turning these guns into works of art.

“I think that it’s important you can turn something that’s so deadly into something that’s beautiful. It was an idea that our sister Pati thought of.”

Fil-Am Pati Poblete’s son Robby was a victim of gun violence in 2014 — and she has done her own gun buyback in the North Bay. The disassembled parts resulted in an art exhibit.

Together with Corpuz — they plan to hold a similar event and are calling on artists to take part in this cause.

“We also want to work with prisons, because I think it would be a lot more meaningful to have actual inmates and ex-offenders who have used guns to create harm and violence and have them create the art, because I think that will really mirror their own journeys of transformation,” said Poblete.

After fighting against gun violence in Atlanta this past April — as part of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s 50th anniversary of his assassination — Corpuz says he is happy to continue the work back home in the Bay Area with a fellow kababayan.

All those interested in participating in the project can contact the United Playaz and the Robby Poblete foundation through their respective websites.

Organizers hope that the art exhibit will be held at San Francisco City Hall before the end of the year.

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