Enough: Youths speak, adults listen

BY AUDREY MCGHEE, Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG — The Enough movement was born from all the tragic young lives lost in our community over the past six months. With the three young ladies that drowned after being chased into a pond and the eight young men who lost their lives within a two-month period, a group of concerned citizens felt that enough was enough.

Within two weeks, Delinquency Prevention Specialist for the Dept. of Juvenile Justice Pat McGhee, Pastor Kenneth Irby, St. Petersburg Police Department, JoAnne Nesbit, Executive Director of the Childs Park YMCA Deborah Figgs-Sanders, Ann Sherman-White from Pinellas Technical College (PTC), gallerist Carla Bristol and community activists Carl Lavender, Gwen Reese and Bro. John Muhammad put together a program held April 19.

Enough Youth Speak, communityThe Enough event was created for the youth to have a voice on crime issues, youth deaths, youth behavior and community/school issues.  This was not a forum meant to bring blame on anyone or anything, but just to state the concerns and issues from the perspectives of young people.

Held at the St. Pete campus of PTC, Enough was a call to action. The panel consisted of seven youths, youth moderator Jalen White from Boca Ciega High School and adult moderator and advisory Pastor Irby. More than 120 youths were present and some 75 adults.

Topics discussed included: How to better themselves, emotions surrounding the deaths of the three young ladies, auto theft and the consequences, the media’s influence over the youth, the understanding of crime and the Trayvon Martin case.

The goal for coming together was to listen and allow the youths to speak freely while the adults listen.

Following the event, organizers will review the issues and solutions identified by the youths to improve communication and make changes for a better community. One such suggestion by a young man was to create a skate park where the youth could have a safe place to hang out. Several suggestions are being reviewed by the team, and from the collected data a series of workshops/sessions will be held monthly with a summit component to wrap things up.

State Rep. Darryl Rouson and Judge Patrice Moore were on hand to speak to the children that came from such organizations as TASCO, Men in the Making, 5000 Black Role Models and Project Bridge.

The City of St. Petersburg, the St. Pete Police Dept. and PTC sponsored the event.

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