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DC children propose solutions to violence at 'Youth Summit'

Young people got an opportunity to directly discuss community concerns with D.C. leaders and push for change.

WASHINGTON — Local teenagers and children came together Wednesday evening to participate in the annual Youth Summit.

At the event, children touched on every topic from education to crime. 

The latter issue has been the news frequently as of late.

Multiple children have already been shot and killed in the District just three weeks into 2023.

"Community concerns about youth safety and gun violence in the District are at an all-time high," said organizing group DC Action. "And, instead of continuing to listen to advocates and policymakers continue to talk about possible solutions, come and hear directly from youth."

Kristi Matthews-Jones, the director of the DC Girls Coalition, said young people were the best group to speak on the topic too. 

"They know best what is needed to resolve issues in their community," she said.

Twelve-year-old Andre Wilson, a middle school student in DC, said he lost a friend to gun violence in 2020. He said the District needs to offer more for children to do. 

"We need more recreation centers," Wilson said. "If kids aren't hanging outside, they won't be able to get shot or anything like that."

Another DC teen, 15-year-old Kimarie Marshall, said some families simply need more support.

"Help provide more for the single parents and kids, instead of building stuff," he said.

Children also requested more school counselors, protections for LGBTQ+ youth, and feminine hygiene products in campus bathrooms.

The summit, which was held at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Northwest DC, was organized by DC Action, the DC Girls’ CoalitionBlack Swan AcademyCritical ExposureYWCA of the National Capital Area, and United Leaders for Freedom.

Multiple District leaders also participated in group breakout sessions with attending students too. Some officials included DC Councilmembers Brooke Pinto and Brianne Nadeau.

WATCH NEXT: Teens and advocates speak about crime in DC

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