Only a gun will get you one of the 150 laptops Digit All Systems founder Lance Lucas has to trade.
Next Saturday at the Downtown Cultural Arts Center, Lucas’ computer training nonprofit is partnering with the Baltimore Police Department and the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice on the first Computer for Guns Initiative in the city, he said. Anyone who brings a functional gun to trade in to the police will receive a laptop outfitted with a new network card and hard drive. If all the laptops are given out, vouchers for laptops will be distributed.
In addition, computer workshops will be offered during the three-hour event. And anyone who trades in a gun for a computer will be able to attend IT training courses over the next few months at the arts center.
Computers for Guns takes place July 13 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. More information and the address here.
“This changes the whole argument of gun buy-backs,” said Lucas, 38. “Right here, we’re trading ideas. What we’re saying is this person is going to get a computer and they’re going to get classes for it, and they might be able to change their lives based on this one event.”
It’s the latest of recent trade-in programs in Baltimore aimed at reducing the number of guns on the street that could end in violence. Late last month, eight people were murdered during one weekend.
“We just can’t sit on the sidelines and wait for the breeze to blow over,” Lucas said.
Through his nonprofit Digit All Systems, Lucas provides computer certification courses specifically for members of what he calls the city’s “untapped population”: predominantly black Baltimoreans from overlooked neighborhoods searching for the means to escape unemployment and climb out of poverty.
Read Technically Baltimore’s profile of Digit All Systems.
The computers for guns buy-back, and the accompanying computer training workshops and classes, he said, is the first step to “stem the tide of violence” with “new education.”
“All these tech companies talking about helping the city, that sounds really good, but at the end of the day, you really have to do something to get into the middle of the mix,” Lucas said. “If the resources can’t come to the people, then what are we really doing?”