Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for the 'Youth Violence Prevention Initiative' Category

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

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Nov 10 2009

Youth Violence Forum features teens directly impacted by violence

[Update, 11/12/09]

Seattle Speaks: Youth Violence

Seattle Channel Video link:

Media Advisory: Councilmember Harrell to participate in critical youth crime prevention discussion

SEATTLE – On Tuesday, Nov. 10 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall, Seattle Channel, CityClub and Town Hall will hold a forum on youth violence. Seattle Channel’s public affairs host C.R. Douglas, will lead a lively panel discussion that includes youth who know violence first-hand on the streets, Councilmember and longtime youth mentor Bruce Harrell, Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) Director Mariko Lockhart, Police Assistant Chief Jim Pugel, Urban League SYVPI Program Coordinator Jamila Taylor, a member of the Seattle Police Department gang unit and a former gang member.

In Sept. 2008 Mayor Greg Nickels pledged $9 million toward a Youth Violence Prevention Initiative aimed at ending the killings and assaults among juveniles.

The panel will be asked questions and discuss the city’s initiative aimed at youth violence, including whether the approach is working, how people can get involved and what community organizations and private businesses can do to help.

The forum will include an Interactive Polling System to directly receive feedback from the audience. Additionally, viewers tuning into Seattle Channel 21 can participate in the forum online during the broadcast.

What: Seattle Speaks – Youth Violence
Where: Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave. Seattle
When: Registration 6 p.m., audience instructions 6:30 p.m., program runs from 7 – 8:30 p.m.

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Aug 19 2009

Community Remembers Aaron Sullivan

Funeral services for Aaron Sullivan took place on August 1 at Madrona’s St. Therese Parish. Aaron was remembered by hundreds as a son, brother, grandson, protector, and friend. Aaron’s priest remembered him best when he attended St. Therese School – it was recounted that Aaron was bright and charming and he thought he knew everything.

I was asked to participate in Aaron’s Community Vigil and Remembrance on July 29 at the Rainier Community Center. Those who attended the vigil heard words of encouragement for Aaron’s large, loving family and many friends. I shared that it is my hope that our community sees this tragedy for what it is – the struggle between the influences of evil and the preserving of life.

As I reflect on that evening, the greatest tragedy is that Aaron was deprived of an opportunity to fully live out his life. Aaron’s unforeseen passing forces us to wrestle with the powers of evil and good as they exist in our community and within our hearts. It is my hope that his loss will not be a waste and his death will ignite a change in Seattle.

Since that fateful night in Leschi, it has become increasingly clear that this shooting incident is Seattle’s wake up call. Over the last three weeks, I have received many emails from parents, current and former public officials, and youth who have expressed frustration that Aaron died as a result of gun violence. His friends have shed tears and now want to do something to remember their fallen friend. Some have considered getting tattoos, while others are willing to serve on community youth advisory councils and work to see that this tragedy is not repeated.

As I listened and began to understand the journey of Aaron’s mother, father, sister and grandmother, I learned that one of life’s greatest challenge — and greatest reward — is for families, friends, and community to empower and educate our youth to become socially responsible and make good decisions.

Aaron’s passing has spurred us on to lay that groundwork for change. And in spite of society’s confusing messages (the kind of messages that force our youth to grow up before they should), our community must work together to help our youth build good values, make good judgments, and learn good decision-making skills.

If there is anything that we can do to remember our fallen friend, it is to empower and encourage our youth so a tragedy like this cannot, and will not, happen again.

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Jul 08 2009

Seattle’s Youth Violence Prevention Summit

On July 7, I attended the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Summit at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club/Rainier Valley Teen Center. Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and a nationally recognized advocate for disadvantaged Americans, delivered the keynote address. Edelman’s address helped kick off a day of group discussions and speeches. Edelman stated that, “We’ve got to break up this cradle-to-prison pipeline.” She went on to say mental-health treatment cannot be overlooked and that dealing with health issues at a young age is more cost-effective in the long run, saving society future financial burdens. “We can’t afford not to do it,” she said.

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