The Multnomah Youth Commission is organizing a youth-led summit, for April 21. Marc Fernandes, youth development coordinator for the commission, said the Rob Ingram Youth Summit Against Violence will take place from 10 to 4 p.m. on April 21 at Highland Christian Center. The goal is to bring along 300 youth to talk and network in the morning. In the afternoon selected adult leaders will be invited to attend. Youth Commissioners planning the event are asking for interested youth to come forward and help with the event. All youth under the age of 21 are urged to attend.
Fernandes announced the summit at Portland's gang task force meeting Feb. 17.
|Youth outreach workers keep the gang violence task force in the know. Pictured here from left are Hiag Brown of Brothers and Sisters Keepers; Valerie Salazar from IRCO, and Robert Blake, also from BSK. Salazar introduced teen Laura Perez, who baked cakes for the meeting|
Police, community justice workers, churches, health workers, outreach organizations, mentoring groups, schools and neighborhood associations were represented at Friday's task force along with community members.
The expanded task force currently meets at 10 a.m. every other Friday in the Northeast Police Precinct, but now plans to add an evening meeting so community members who work during the day can attend. With a
TWO EVENTS FEB. 25The Village Speaks
Youth advocate Royal Harris said he is working with Highland Christian Center and other partners to revitalize the Restore the Village movement that brought together a series of public discussions last summer on how to end violence. The first discussion – under the name "The Village Speaks," will look at civic engagement. It's set for 12:30 – 2 p.m. on Feb. 25 at Highland Christian Center, 7600 N.E. Glisan St.
An Invitation to Man-Up
Also on Saturday, Pastor Cliff Chappell and Professor Andrae Brown are putting out a call to men to 'Man-Up to End Violence'
"If we want to end violence in our communities and in our lives, we're going to have to Man-Up," says Pastor Chappell. "Let's Man-Up for: happier, healthier families; safer neighborhoods; a more livable city."
Chappell, pastor of St Johns All Nations Church of God in Christ, and Brown, a professor at Lewis & Clark College, say we won't end violence until we start giving men what they need to get healthy – spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. That's not easy in a world which denies many men –especially men of color— the means to be all they can be. And that's why they're launching Man-Up.
What will Man-Up look like? Brown and Chappell are inviting men, women and young adults to the vision casting of "Man-Up," at 3:30 p.m. Saturday Feb. 25, at Concordia College, 2811 N.E. Holman St., in the Luther Hall, Room L121.
wide range of private, nonprofit and government partners now at the table, Mayor Sam Adams said the task force is closer to its goal of working to prevent youth violence. "This is no longer a meeting about enforcement," he said. "It is our individual responsibility to come to the table and ask for what we need because I'm not going to be able to read your mind."
The move to add an evening meeting has been under discussion for some time. A time and place for the community meeting is not yet fixed. Adams and Antoinette Edwards, director of the Office of Youth Violence Prevention are looking at venues where food is available in North Portland and in East County. Currently the task force meets at 10 a.m. every other Friday in the Northeast Police Precinct.
Under discussion were efforts to build community support networks for youth and families. The 11:45 movement is building on its energetic kickoff and has added more churches. Connected provides a caring adult presence at Holladay Park every Friday afternoon and evening. Stryve has hired three new health workers to work on prevention, said Rebecca Stavenjord, coordinating the federal Stryve grant at Multnomah County.
"We're working on making kind of an inverse map of the hot spots– we're mapping the places that are good for youth – the 'cool spots'."
Outreach workers said they need more resources to help them reach out to youth. At-risk youth are hungry – both for food and also for healthy, fun experiences. Meal tickets, concert tickets, sports and recreational opportunities of all kinds help outreach workers engage youth.
"If it's raining, how long is a kid going to stand there talking with us," said Robert Blake of Brothers and Sisters Keepers (pictured above). "But if I can take them for a burger, then I have their attention for half an hour or more."
Royal Harris asked community justice workers to allow youth to play basketball in the park, rather than pick them up for associating with other 'gang members.' If youth on probation or parole are to stay out of trouble, he said, they have to have something positive to do.