KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wesley Hamilton wants you to know he is more than his disability. And Mark Launiu says he represents more than fashion.
Hamilton, executive director of Disabled But Not Really, and Launiu, who co-founded the MADE MOBB clothing company, have teamed up in a new anti-violence campaign focused on helping people across Kansas City, Missouri, empower and uplift one another. It's called "I am More."
"We are more than our circumstances. We need the world to understand that, we need ourselves to understand that," Hamilton said.
The 31-year-old may understand that better than anyone else. He admits to being a bad boy until he became paralyzed from the waist down after a shooting in 2012. He said the change in circumstances forced him to change his mindset. Now, he chooses positivity.
"I have a completely different mindset," he said. "And that's because I've been able to empower myself through positive affirmations and other ways of learning, things that have developed something more out of me."
He wants others to get more out of themselves. The "I am More" campaign is about inspiring people to realize they are more than a thug.
The campaign's mission is to help people choose positivity, realize they are more than a statistic and together, more than a violent community.
"Violence is a mindset that can be changed. We can empower people, we can teach them how to grow," Hamilton stressed.
As of Sept. 11, 2019, there had been 106 homicides in Kansas City, Missouri. That is an increase of 13 compared to the total on the same day in 2018.
MADE MOBB has created a clothing line with the "I am More" logo. Fifty percent of the proceeds from each sale of an "I am More" T-shirt goes to Hamilton's Disabled But Not Really organization. The group is working on a program to empower youth and help them understand they are more than what they see around them, and can choose a positive mindset.
"I feel like it's everyone's responsibility, really. As businesses, we have a bigger platform. So with our platform more people have eyes on us. So we have to capitalize on our platform to make that difference. You have to be that change you want to see," Launiu said.
MADE MOBB has three locations in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for information on how to purchase a shirt.