Increase the Peace

Cannie says donations for the T-shirt movement are always welcome, though up until this point the majority of the printing funds have come out of his own pocket.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — A local music artist is spreading his message of non-violence one T-shirt at a time.

A few months ago local musician Donnie Cannie, or “D-Boy,” as he is known, decided he had had enough of the repeating cycle of violence in the community, and took it upon himself to turn the tides by creating a movement called “Increase the Peace.”

“My friend, Raheem Vasser, came to me one day and said that we needed to do something about all the violence and stuff in Milledgeville,” said Cannie. “He was like ‘maybe we should make ‘Increase the Peace’ T-shirts and sell them’. I was like ‘Yeah, but what if we give them out?’ Ever since then we’ve been giving them out to people.”

Although they recognized that T-shirts with a peaceful message would go a long way to curb the spread of violence in the community, Cannie and his friend had no idea of the scale that the movement would reach. Over the past three weeks, Cannie estimates that he and Vasser have given out more than 1,000 shirts to local residents. The shirts have been a huge success: Many local residents have been seen posting selfies wearing the multi-colored shirts on Facebook, with many of those including peaceful messages and repeated calls to end violence in their community.

“We’re not colorblind with it,” said Cannie. “We’ve got them for kids, older people, it doesn’t matter. If they want to increase the peace, we want them to have a T-shirt.”

Although the shirts are being given away for free, as with anything, they come with a price tag. To cover the costs of sewing and printing, Cannie has collected donations from all different parts of the Milledgeville community.

“We’ve had a lot of help from Pamlico Pools, you know just putting money for me to get more shirts. We ask people if they want to give a donation because we only put the money into getting more shirts. We’ve had a little bit of donations, but a lot of it has been coming out of my pockets. We’re just trying to get Milledgeville on the right track again.”

For the past few weeks, Cannie has made it his mission to give out as many shirts as he can to residents throughout Milledgeville. Over that time he has expended huge amounts of time and effort into the project.

For Cannie, the mission hits close to home.

“The last thing for me was when that [woman] got killed in her trailer playing with her kids,” he said, referring to the Memorial Day weekend murder of local resident Tonya Renae Massey while she was sitting in her living room. “I said then that it was really time to step up because they’re shooting into these houses not knowing or not caring whether there’s kids in there. Anybody could be in there, so we don’t need these type of guys around. Since I was young I’ve lost a lot of people to gang violence and just violence period. With me having a voice, I want to use that voice to increase the peace.”

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