WASHINGTON — A group of young activists are taking their message to a national stage. The students in the Pathways 2 Power program at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Southeast, DC have been invited to lead a national discussion on activism to celebrate the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass. Prior to their talk, WUSA9’s Delia Gonçalves sat down with the group about their goals.
Cracking jokes among each other in the school library, the group broke out in laughter. It was good to hear the students laughing. It was a moment of levity in Friday’s round table talk about their real frustration.
“It's not wrong for us to expect more from our politicians,” said Jayla Holdip. The high school seniors are serious about keeping their streets safe.
“I feel as though we are prepared and while like I said never a moment when you're ready to do something the important thing is to take the first step,” said Anthony James.
They are serious about holding people accountable. “In order to do their jobs right they need to listen to the community in which they're representing and at this time they're really not doing that,” said Holdip.
WUSA9 first met the young activists back in November when they screened their anti-gun violence Public Service Announcement (PSA) at Ben’s Chili Bowl in front of city leaders including DC Police Chief Peter Newsham. At the time Chief Newsham told WUSA9, “they don’t want to feel like the police are watching them, they want to feel like the police are providing safety for them."
“DC politicians looked us in our faces and told us they would try to effect change for us and then the next week voted for us to not vote (City Council) it's frustrating and it makes me wonder do they really care about the people they are representing or is it the game of politics?" asked Holdip.
So, when the young people ask serious questions it's in the memory of their friends who lost their lives to gun violence: Paris Brown and Zaire Kelly.
After we asked police for an update, a spokesperson said they will be contacting Pathways 2 Power. No word from the Mayor’s office.