The UniverSoul Circus, commonly called the Soul Circus, is a black-owned circus that started out in an Atlanta parking lot in 1994. The goal of the founder, Cedric Lewis, was to cultivate and highlight the “black entertainment” experience. Although the first show was primarily financed using his personal funds, it was a huge success and it has grown exponentially since then. Currently, the UniverSoul circus features human talent from all over the globe and boasts the title, “The World in One Ring.” The next paragraphs will describe a recent effort by the UniverSoul Circus promoters to “give back by taking away.”
During this year’s UniverSoul circus tour, the promoters decided to take a stand against gun violence among youth. They collaborated with community churches in Nashville, TN to promote a “no worries” gun exchange. This meant that anyone who turned in their gun could do so with no questions asked. For every gun that was turned in, 5 circus tickets were given away. Four Nashville churches participated and a total of 84 guns were turned in. One church pastor shared one of his experiences this way, “I had a grandmother to come in the first day of the gun turn-in with tears in her eyes wondering how she could get rid of this gun because her grandson was living in the home with her and had had his hands on the gun.” Another grandmother is reported as stopping by the gun drive just to say “Thank you” as she had experienced the death of a young granddaughter due to gun violence.
While there are some critics of the gun exchange, the Nashville police chief stated that, “Anytime we can remove 84 guns from the streets of Nashville it’s a good day.” Many people would likely agree with this statement. The UniverSoul circus is to be commended for their many years of providing clean, quality family entertainment and their efforts to preserve life by getting guns off the street.