Community members gathered Thursday night to have an open conversation about stopping gun violence. Youth empowerment was an emerging theme. The crowd asked a panel questions about what’s being done about the issue. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan talked about the importance of preparing youth to vote.
“I want all of you to stand up if you’re really willing to stand up for these principles and vote when you can vote. Stand up!” Durkan urged the audience to a round of applause.
Many young attendees of the event wore shirts promoting the Youth 4 Peace project. Rainier Beach High School student Gregory Miles Pleasant was one of them. He said guns are used for reasons that don’t include killing. But he said how they’re used is a public safety issue.
“If I feel like I’m in a situation or I’m in an environment where the only thing that is gonna keep me safe or make me feel like I’m being heard is an instrument of death? It’s not the way it should be,” he said.
The panel expressed interest in taking action about limiting people’s accessibility to guns. However, there was no mention of specific policy changes to Seattle Public Schools.
Pleasant says Youth 4 Peace is planning an event in April to continue the conversation.