NewsLocal NewsAkron Canton News


Tragedy, gun violence prompts Akron gospel group to use music to spread message of peace

Posted at 10:32 PM, Feb 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-27 16:08:51-05

Music can be a powerful force, and one band is trying to prove it can even be used to end violence.

"Truly, I don't want another parent to feel like how I felt, that's the key. I don't want no one ever to feel like how I felt," said Todd Burton, Founder of the Akron based gospel group, Half Mile Home.

Burton's son, Treyvon, was shot in the head in Akron in 2016. Miraculously, he survived.

When his son was learning how to speak and walk for the second time, Burton knew he had to use his music as a message, to spare other parents from the heartache he had endured. It fueled the creation of the group's hit single, "This Far." 

"We've always trusted in God, but our faith was tested and tried, and we were just excited and just happy," said Burton's brother and Half Mile Home member, Terence Buttons-Burton.

But, the family's faith would be tested again. Just a few blocks away from where his son was shot and survived, less than one year later, Burton's other son, 21-year-old Deandre, was shot and killed.

Burton's music took on an entirely new mission. The family trio made anti-violence central to the music they produced, and their message has resonated ever since. "This Far" has secured a spot on the Billboard Gospel Top 10.

"Our song right now is more than just a song, it's more than just a song. I really just want everybody to listen to the song and find that peace," said Burton.

"We're losing lives. Lives on top of lives. The only time the church is packed anymore is because somebody just got shot," said Buttons-Burton.

So, with help from music and church, this family is hoping they can turn the tide of this country's wave of gun violence.

The members of Half Mile Home have also created a non-profit organization called Boiling Point, which will work with mental health professionals and churches to make sure young, inner city people get the help they need before turning to violence.