Dozens of youth come out looking for ways to reduce crime amongst people in their age group

Published: Jun. 4, 2022 at 11:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2022 at 11:22 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Violence among the youth in Jackson continues to trouble the Capital City.

In fact, on Friday, Jackson police charged a 19-year-old in the death of a 12-year-old.

Looking to do something to combat violence involving the youth, Jxn People’s Assembly held an event aimed at hearing from the youth, especially in the 14-24 age group.

Organizers believe too many times, people talk about the youth and the things they’re doing or not doing but never actually get to hear from them.

They wanted to change that.

“Young people often aren’t engaged until there’s an issue,” said Gus Washington, a lead coordinator for the Youth Assembly. “I think a lot of people have been doing things in the community for a long time that were positive, but they weren’t getting attention. They weren’t getting any type of resources, so they resulted to doing the more negative things because negative things immediately get more attention.”

Dozens came out to be a part of the Youth Assembly, including 14-year-old Muarib Abdul-Tawab.

The soon-to-be high school freshman said he’s looking and wanting to create a safer Jackson.

“You just want to be able to walk out wherever you go and not have to worry about anybody shooting or anything, nobody robbing anywhere,” he said.

That’s why he and others paired up into groups, writing down problems they think are causing so many young people to commit violent acts.

“If we’re willing to listen to the young people, they will engage with us,” said Andrew Campbell, president of the Jackson Association of Black Social Workers. “They will tell us what their hurts and concerns are, and they will give us the prescription and solution to the issues that’s going on in our community.”

During the assembly, some of the reasons listed for the violence include people not taking time to get to talk and listen to them, along with a lack of safe spaces, resources, and activities and groups for them to be a part of in the city.

“I think it’s very important to engage them in positive ways for them to number one get the resources they need, whether that is programs, mental health programs, educational programs, afterschool, summer camps, workforce training, whatever it is that they need, we need to be able to provide it,” said Brooke Floyd, Coordinator of Jxn People’s Assembly. “Kids are an endless resource of ideas and creativity. They are an endless resource that we are not tapping right now. We needed to bring them to the table.”

As the violence in Jackson continues heading into the summer months, Muarib said he’s remaining hopeful things can and will get better in Capital City.

However, he admits that it’s going to take everyone working together in order to make that happen.

“If people actually step up to do it because a lot of people, they just talk about it, but as soon as they get what they want, they’re gone, but you actually have to put in the time and work to make changes,” said Muarib.

“I charge anybody who has any type of authority to engage their younger constituents,” said Washington. “Try to see from them what they can do and what would help them feel more safe so they wouldn’t be so desperate to practice some of these things that they’re practicing at the moment.”

Organizers said they plan to have more events like this throughout the year.

Jxn People’s Assembly is also looking to start a youth council.

They want to have a young person from each ward represent the youth and speak on their behalf on a regular basis.

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