The Daily Eastern News

Rise up, rise against suicide

Rise Up Tour visits Eastern to promote suicide prevention

Corryn Brock, Staff Reporter

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Quese, Ballenger and Break the Grey performed in McAfee Gym on Sept. 13 with a suicide prevention theme for the Rise Up Tour.

Hip hop artist Quese opened the event and spoke of his life growing up.

Quese said he wanted to commit suicide at 12 and was bullied while in school, and that it helped him connect to the students in the crowd.

He said, “I definitely feel that (students) can get some self confidence, be encouraged and be enlightened on things they may have not known.”

Some students in the audience could be seen crying during Quese’s last song in his performance.

Quese said seeing things like that encourage him because he sees the effect he can have on them.

“When I see kids crying it shows me I’m doing the right thing, and it encourages me to keep going,” he said.

Quese said he thinks one thing people should know about the event is how much went into it.

He said, “What we do is not easy. You have to selfless, you have to want to help people. You have to intentionally go out and, in (his) case, promote unity.”

Quese’s guitarist, Caleb Smith, 22 , has worked with Quese for four years.

Smith said doing performance like the one on Sept. 13 is a big responsibility because of how important they can be to students.

He said, “A lot of (students) are going through depression, they are outcasts or some are suicidal and having an outlet like this helps.”

Smith said he was depressed when he was in school he went to events like the one he performed in and does not know where he would be without those events.

He said, “I think that getting an outlet and being in environment where you can be yourself is probably about the coolest thing ever.”

Ballenger performed a range of cover songs as well as originals. Billy Ballenger, the front man of the band, has been performing for 17 years. During his performance, interns from his organization, Break the Grey, performed a skit.

Towards the end of his set Ballenger prayed with the audience.

Ballenger also discussed the issues he had earlier in life.

Ballenger said after he and his wife served five years in prison they were able to better themselves and eventually create their organization.

He encouraged audience members to make good decisions for themselves as well.

Ballenger said he hoped people took the theme of taking life seriously away from the event.

He said, “For me the only way to take life seriously is to know the one who saved me, Jesus Christ. I give him all of the credit for that.”

Former NFL tight end, Michael Cobb, also spoke briefly at the event after speaking at locals schools this week.

He said he believes events like the Rise Up Tour are important for students and that he is envious of the opportunity students have to attend events like this tour.

“A lot of young people are hurting,” Cobb said. “Unfortunately no every kid goes home to a happy home so for those kids who are out there struggling, we give them hope.”

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
Rise up, rise against suicide