JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Violence among Jackson’s youth continues to trouble the capital.
In fact, on Friday, Jackson police charged a 19-year-old in the death of a 12-year-old.
Seeking to do something to address violence involving youth, Jxn People’s Assembly organized an event aimed at hearing from young people, especially in the 14-24 age bracket.
Organizers too often believe that people talk about young people and the things they do or don’t do, but never really hear from them.
They wanted to change that.
“Young people are often not engaged until there is a problem,” said Gus Washington, senior coordinator of the Youth Assembly. “I think a lot of people have been doing positive things in the community for a long time, but they weren’t attracting attention. They weren’t getting any kind of resources, so they ended up doing the more negative things because negative things immediately get more attention.
Dozens of people attended the Youth Assembly, including 14-year-old Muarib Abdul-Tawab.
The future high school freshman said he was looking for and wanted to create a safer Jackson.
“You just want to be able to go out wherever you go and not have to worry about someone shooting or whatever, nobody flying anywhere,” he said.
That’s why he and others have come together in groups, writing down the issues they believe are driving so many young people to commit acts of violence.
“If we are willing to listen to young people, they will engage with us,” said Andrew Campbell, president of the Jackson Association of Black Social Workers. “They will tell us what their injuries and concerns are, and they will give us the prescription and the solution to the problems that arise in our community.”
During the assembly, some of the reasons listed for violence include people not taking the time to talk and listen to them, as well as the lack of safe spaces, resources, activities and groups to which they can be part in the city. .
“I think it’s really important to engage them in a positive way so that they get the resources they need, whether it’s programs, mental health programs, educational programs, after-school programs, summer camps, workforce training, whatever they need, we need to be able to provide it,” said Jxn People’s Assembly Coordinator Brooke Floyd. “Children are an inexhaustible source of ideas and creativity. They are an inexhaustible resource that we are not exploiting at the moment. We had to bring them to the table.
As the violence in Jackson continues to head into the summer months, Muarib said he remains hopeful things can and will improve in the capital.
However, he admits that it will take everyone working together to make that happen.
“If people are stepping up to do it because a lot of people are talking about it, but as soon as they get what they want, they leave, but you actually have to put in the time and work to bring about change. said Mouarib.
“I charge anyone with the slightest power to engage their young voters,” Washington said. “Try to see from them what they can do and what would help them feel more secure so that they aren’t so desperate to practice some of these things that they are practicing right now.”
Organizers said they plan to have more events like this throughout the year.
The Jxn People’s Assembly is also seeking to establish a youth council.
They want a young person from each neighborhood to represent young people and regularly speak on their behalf.
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