At the 2nd Annual Teen Peace Congress over 300 guests were in attendance. High school students
This was a great opportunity for teen leaders to meet exclusively with federal, state and city officials to highlight gun violence, hate crimes, cultural barriers and teen resources.
Special guests included former US Attorney Kenneth Polite, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison, Sheriff Marlin Gusman, NOPD Commander Nicholas Gernon, DEA Agent Craig Wiles, ATF Agent Joseph Belisle, Criminal Court Judge Robin Pittman and Criminal Court Judge Keva Landrum, Orleans Public Defender Kenneth Hardin, N. O. Family Justice Center Community Educator Jennifer Taylor, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Deron Ogletree, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Andrew Anderson and Q93 Radio Personality Wild Wayne.
The participants enjoyed free food, music, ice breakers, interactive activities, door prizes and much more…
All student attendees received a free t-shirt and cash gift.
Our partners included First NBC Bank, UNO, Anti-Defamation League, ATF, Colin Organization, DEA, FBI, iHeartMedia, New Orleans Pelicans, NOPD, Orleans Parish Criminal Court, Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office, Orleans Public Defenders, Urban League of LA, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Attorney's Office, Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta.
Our banner winners for the Teen Peace Congress were:
Lake Area High School
East St. John High School
Here is some of the feedback from the Teen Peace Congress Participants:
When asked for reasons why it’s so easy for people to pull the trigger: a lot of teens talked about the adrenaline rush that comes with an illegal act, the lack of regard some have for human life, emotional detachment, survival method, the gun holder having a sense of power and the ease of using a gun, particularly from a far distance and by people who are not physically strong.
When identifying what constitutes as a hate crime: most students agreed it was a crime targeting someone on the basis of their race, gender, religion, sexuality, etc.
Asking what police can do for young people to trust them more: garnered a number of responses. Answers included police being more engaged within the community outside of arresting people or giving tickets/engaging in a non-authoritative manner, show up faster in areas hard hit by crime, get more involved at local schools and engage with youth on a personal level.
Students identified what they needed from community leaders to reduce future violence: more events like Teen Peace Congress, better strategies for helping low-income individuals and families, more recreation centers and social centers for youth, make it popular not to participate in violence but rather to speak up and creating more events for teens to get out of the cycle of violence.
When charged with what they could do as an individual to reduce violence: students said they could use programs like Crimestoppers, lead by example, inspire people not conspire with people, continue talking directly with city leaders, encourage others to do the right thing, spread love and stay connected so they can speak up when they witness something wrong.
See additional photos in our gallery from the event.
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