Hundreds Of Youths Attend Third Annual Anti-Violence Summit Led By U.S. Attorney’s Office And Community Partners- U.S. Attorney Machen: “Your Future Is Your Responsibility”-
WASHINGTON – More than 500 youths gathered at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Northeast Washington today for a summit sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia that featured presentations about issues facing young people here and nationwide, including bullying, sexual assaults, street gangs, and drug abuse.
U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and other speakers addressed the summit’s theme of “Breaking the Silence on Youth Violence.” The free event also included workshops for older and younger youth, a dance-off, and entertainment from a variety of performers, including nationally known recording artist Marcus Canty.
“You must protect your future at all times,” U.S. Attorney Machen said in his opening remarks. “Your future is your responsibility and no one else’s.”
U.S. Attorney Machen talked about the importance of making good decisions, warning “Never let somebody without a future take yours away.” He urged the youths, ages 8 through 18, to stay out of bad situations, act with integrity, and work hard to achieve long-term goals.
“You have to ask yourself, ‘are you willing to stand up for what you believe in? You can be a voice of positive change,” U.S. Attorney Machen declared.
This was the office’s third annual Youth Summit, which assembles young people from under-served neighborhoods in the District of Columbia to discuss the most pressing public safety challenges facing their communities. Each of the previous summits also drew hundreds of students. For today’s event, youths began arriving in the morning at Friendship Collegiate Academy, 4095 Minnesota Avenue NE, and remained well into the afternoon.
This year’s summit was organized with help from the Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force, the East River Family Strengthening Collaborative, and law enforcement and community partners. The goal of the Youth Summit is to reach out to area youth on current public safety topics in an informative and inspiring way.
Several collaborative partners, including the Columbia Heights Shaw/Family Collaborative, the District of Columbia Department of Health, the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, Street Wize Foundation, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, joined together to present the day’s programs. Assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and other District of Columbia government agencies.
The youth summit is one in a series of community events sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including town hall meetings, crime prevention presentations, and various outreach programs for people of all ages.