Washington – The third annual DC Youth Summit, held Wednesday night, gave district youth the opportunity to speak directly with city leaders about community issues and solution ideas.
DC Girls Coalition, DC Action, and other youth advocacy groups facilitated conversations with representatives from the Mayor’s Office, DC Public Schools, City Council, Health and Human Services, and more.
Young people say they are trying to solve problems that adults cannot solve alone.
“With all this going on, I am devastated that city leaders are not doing anything to share with the youth and parents in their communities,” group facilitator.
“I’m sick and tired of losing the people I love most. I think gun violence should end. I think we need more recreation centers,” said Andre Wilson, a middle school student.
According to organizers, young people have unique lived experiences of some of the biggest issues facing their communities, such as violence and mental health, and have real-world ideas for solutions. increase.
DC Girls Coalition Director Kristi Matthews Jones said:
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On Wednesday night, mental health and the need for counselors in schools are top priorities for some young people.
“If we put more effort into mental health and emotional support for teenagers, they could do better,” said Tonergy Mixon, 16.
Many students also expressed concern about the state of public schools. Some say the building needs basic supplies like soap, toilet paper, and paper towels in the bathroom.
Of course, there is also the issue of gun violence. With two different teens of his, he tells FOX 5 that more recreation centers with activities would make a big difference.
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“Instead of hanging outside and dying from gun violence, you can play soccer or basketball or play sports inside the recreation center,” Wilson said.
Andre Wilson is still in middle school when he lost his father and a friend to gun violence.
“It goes on and on and on and on and on, like a war,” he said.
Wilson says a summit like this has the power to stop that war. The young anti-violence advocates will then submit a list of demands compiled at this summit to city leaders.