Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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Nov 15 2009

Teaching our Youth by first, Listening

Unprecedented Youth Violence Forum. I was proud to take part in a Seattle Channel, CityClub and Town Hall sponsored Youth Violence Forum on Tuesday, November 10. C.R. Douglas, Seattle Channel’s public affairs host, moderated the lively panel discussion which included youth who have been impacted by violence first-hand. A short video was shown where I interviewed youth in the community who were very close to the issue of violence on the streets. “I was joined by Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) Director Mariko Lockhart, Police Assistant Chief Jim Pugel, Urban League SYVPI Program Coordinator Jamila Taylor, Royal Alley-Barnes, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Cleveland High School students Maraunjanique “Mook” Smallwood and Janisha “Boug” Sparks, a member of the Seattle Police Department gang unit, and Tony McCane, a former boxer, gang member and now community activist.”

Our City’s 2009-2010 budget allocated $8 million of the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative to end the killings and assaults among juveniles, ages 12 to 17. Last year about this time, 5 youth were killed in Seattle. This year, that number is reduced to 0, aside from the tragic killing of 18 year-old Aaron Sullivan.

You can view the Youth Violence Forum at

Checkin My Fresh. A talent showcase to empower Seattle’s youth was held at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center on Saturday evening, November 21. Over 250 attended the show entitled Checkin My Fresh. It featured youth entertainment, live DJs, emcees, guest artists Piece and Native Soun, and many dance groups and singers. The stage backdrop was designed by the show’s organizers and included a PowerPoint slide show of their own words, feelings, and emotions.
See slides below:

The 3-hour talent show, which marked the first youth organized event, was funded, in part, by the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. The youth provided feedback that they are beginning to believe that they live in a city that cares about them.

For more information about upcoming events, contact the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center at 206-684-4758.

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