WASINGTON (DC News Now) — Teenagers are among the groups of people upset by the recent wave of youth violence across the District.
They and adults filled the Thurgood Marshall Center Wednesday night for the annual Youth Summit, discussing topics of concern to them.
A lot of that centered around shootings that had taken place in D.C. since the start of the year, including one that ended with death of Karon Blake.
An unidentified city employee shot and killed the 13-year-old boy on Jan. 7. Four days later, a 6-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl were wounded when someone opened fire after the two stepped of a Metrobus.
“I’m tired losing people I love the most,” said 12-year-old Andre Wilson.
“I lost 11 year-old Davon McNeal, died on July 4, 2020,” said Wilson. “And I lost my father when I was three years old in 2015.”
The summit does not focus only on talking about problems facing D.C.’s youth. It gives young people a chance to come up with solutions.
“You could be inside of a recreation center playing football or basketball doing sports,” Wilson suggested as a way to reduce violence.
“Because they’re the ones seeing that, they know what is needed to resolve those issues,” said Kristi Matthews-Jones, who co-organized the event.
Representatives from various government agencies attended the summit.
“You’re focusing on the right issues. I mean, of course, only you know what’s most important to you,” said Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau. “But, from my perspective as a government leader, these are really important issues.”
Organizers are planning rallies, and want to address the full D.C. Council with their concerns and solutions.