NY TEENS TELL CONGRESS TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST VIOLENCE
NEW YORK -- On Sunday, September 26, at Hunter College, youth from across New York City joined Congresswoman Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) to participate in an interactive forum on youth violence. During the forum, over 150 students from schools and youth organizations talked about ideas and experiences in an effort to create a collective strategy to stop youth violence.
"Too many young New Yorkers have experienced violence. Today, in this forum, I heard young people speak out against violence and against inaction in Congress," said Maloney.
"I know that my voice has not been heard in Washington," said 17 year old Leinz Vales, Global Kids Youth Leader. "Today, we all have a chance to let our Representatives know that our streets are not safe, our schools are filled with violence and weapons, and that teenagers in this city won't stand for their stalling."
Tasha Williams, a 16 year old member of the Youth Force organization said, "Many of my friends are cynical about government because they see politicians speak out against youth violence and then turn right around and oppose gun-safety laws and funding for after-school programs."
The event began with an hour long interactive discussion with youth and a six member panel, including Congresswoman Maloney, Mr. Vales, Ms. Williams, Ms. Malkia M'Buzi Moore, Alliance for Justice, Program Manager of the Youth Gun Violence Prevention Initiative; Dr. Jean Cirillo, Leading Expert on Youth Violence Prevention; and Ms. Tina Johnstone, Northeast Director of the Bell Campaign, Vice-President of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, and founder of the Silent March.
Following the presentations, the participants broke off into teams to develop legislative strategies for combating youth violence, to initiate ideas to keep guns out of the hands of young people, and to learn about the warning signs for young people prone to committing violent acts.
"My colleagues down in Washington have not acted, and in cities throughout the nation, the gun violence death toll continues to rise. In just 44 U.S. cities, 556 people have died as a result of gun violence since the Columbine shootings. The dedication, energy, and talent of the young people here today are truly inspiring. Your voices will help me tell pro-gun forces in Washington that the time for action against violence is now," Maloney said.