Niya Ingram, a tenth grader at Brashear High School, listed “killing, bullying and…gangs” among the issues she and her peers are facing.
That’s why she is helping facilitate the Coalition Against Violence’s (CAV) “Strategies for Change” Youth Summit Friday in coordination with the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP).
The summit aims to create conversation and awareness of the issues youth are facing throughout the Pittsburgh region. Students will discuss anti-bullying, the internet and social media; the impact of rap music on violence; the role of athletes in reducing violence; gangs and teen dating violence.
Ingram is the facilitator for the session discussing gangs and other violent street groups.
“I have to keep conversations going on about like how we can prevent people from joining and stopping all the violence from happening,” Ingram said.
She was tasked with studying the Coalition Against Violence’s youth document outlining these issues and presenting it to her peers so they can find ways to help the situation.
“Because we need to stop the violence,” Ingram said. “Like, it needs to stop because it’s not getting any better – it’s just getting worse as the years go on.”
Brandi Taylor, community liaison for B-PEP and CAV, said the summit Friday is a follow up to another gathering they hosted for students in March. She said they aim to have students find ways to implement change.
“It’s basically what they feel would have the right impact with their peers and the people they might not come in contact with in school but in their neighborhoods when they go home, what interests kids and right about now it’s definitely social media,” Taylor said.
For example, she said at the last summit, students from Perry High School discussed creating a blog focusing on teen dating violence because they felt it was a way to present the issue to the “masses.”
She said they hope the summits will lower the rates of violence.
“Now of course that’s not an overnight thing, but that's what we would try to accomplish – getting more people involved, raising awareness and having them say what works for them best as youth,” Taylor said.