Anti-violence efforts aim to provide young people with economic opportunities

On Saturday, September 10, community members and go-go enthusiasts gathered at the Check-It Secret Garden in the Southeast to party with TOB and Backyard Band. They then engaged in a discussion about ongoing anti-violence efforts in the Greater Washington area. Pictured: Christopher Geldart, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice with Ron Moten. Photo courtesy of Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer.

By Sam PK Collins

Community members who engage in discussions about youth and violent crime often fall into two categories: those who demand greater parental and community responsibility and those who demand an expansion of government services and educational opportunities. use.

In recent weeks, the latter group has received widespread criticism from some people who have described Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks’ 30-day curfew order as long overdue. long time. Although some local organizers have not overlooked parental involvement as essential, they remain adamant about providing teenagers with viable alternatives to life on the streets.

A group of young people recently explored these ideas at a panel discussion that allowed them to converse with local leaders and highlight their vision for the district.

Saturday’s roundtable was part of the “Flip the Trap Kick-Off” anti-violence event hosted by Don’t Mute DC, DC Department of Employment Services, 202ForPeace, Black Coalition against COVID, The Rev. Tony Lee’s Hope in Action and the Go-Go Museum.

The young people involved in the project, also known as Hoodz Starz, spent over a month in a training program where they learned about financial literacy and the effects of trauma. They have also explored various career opportunities in the entertainment industry, including DJing, producing positive hip-hop content, and event planning.

In the coming weeks, they will each receive a card guaranteeing them discounts on clothing and access to exclusive events in the DC area.

“It was a great opportunity to learn [about] the things I want to do in life. So far I’ve learned and talked to a ton of people about how to make yourself better,’ said Justus Williams, a 16-year-old Southeast resident and one of more than a dozen young who organized the “Flip the Trap Kick Stationary.”

Justus, along with several community members and go-go enthusiasts, gathered at the Check-It Secret Garden in the Southeast to party with TOB and Backyard Band.

The community chat, hosted by DJ Quicksilva, featured Monster Corleone X Big Flock, known for what was described as a positive hit song “I’m Cappin”, as well as Big Court of No Limit Records, social worker Dr. Sheryl Neverson, Jehan El-Bayoumi of the Black Coalition against COVID and Hoodz Starz Ambassador Jordan Williams.

Earlier in the evening, Christopher Geldart, the district’s deputy mayor for public safety and engagement, provided comments. Reverend Lee, a guest that evening, was recognized for his work with teenage entrepreneurs. Justus also paid tribute to the adults in the program who have dropped gems of wisdom.

“Young CEOs showed us how to build a business to solve problems,” Justus said.

“Some young people in the area where we grew up don’t have parents who are there for them, so they take to the streets,” he said. “As long as there are programs and young people are willing to go, safe spaces could inspire young people to do more for themselves and their families.”

As of September 12, the Metropolitan Police Department reported a 1% increase in violent crime reports compared to the same period last year. Robbery and homicide are among the most prevalent crimes, which some advocates describe as a sign of lingering socio-economic problems affecting marginalized communities.

On Sunday, the Hoodz Starz, along with Guns Down Friday’s Monster Corleone X Big Flock and Jawanna Hardy, toured Prince George’s County. They spoke to the congregation of Reverend Lee’s Community of Hope AME Church in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland.

This post originally appeared on The Washington Informer.

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