LaQuoya Tyler was horrified to hear about the disappearance of 14-year-old Yashanee Vaughn, and the shootings of Shiloh Hampton, Mario Alexander and Shalamar Edmonds. "This is so crazy," she told her grandmother, Roberta Tyler. "We need to do something."
She is only 14, but encouraged by her grandmother, she has organized a Teen Walk Against Violence for this Saturday, May 28, followed by a meetup in King Park. The walk will start out at 1 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 5250 NE Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd., and will progress south on the boulevard and along Fremont St. (not Russell St. as originally planned) and 7th before heading to King Park on N.E. 6th and Humboldt., St.
"What we want to get across from this walk is we want all this violence to stop," LaQuoya says. "If we keep on killing our own, then what will we have?
"This starts in the home," she said. "If you grow up and see abuse, and if it is not taken care of, then you tend to get into trouble more easily. We wish there was some kind of peer network to help kids out, because kids will talk to kids before they will talk to adults. The Skanner News Video
"There is a teen hotline for pregnancy but not really on for when you are being pressured into gangs."
Presenting Portland's new gun laws recently, Mayor Sam Adams promised that teens who wanted to leave gangs would have a number to call for help and assistance to get out of gangs. No update on that plan has yet been issued.
LaQuoya's younger sister LaQrisha Tyler, her grandmother Roberta Tyler, and friends Jeremiah Howard, Nakecia Dougherty and others who attend Highland Christian Center youth group are working with her to help make sure as many youth of color as possible know about the walk. Everyone is invited to walk and meet up afterwards to strengthen youth networks and discuss solutions.
"It only takes one person to start something," said Roberta Tyler. "There was just one Harriet Tubman and one Martin Luther King. These are awesome young people and LaQuoya is an amazing young woman.
We want to be a tidal wave through this city."
Portland police will provide an escort and support for the teen walk. Family and friends of Ms. Shaquita Louis, mother of missing teen Yashanee Vaughn also are supporting the walk. You can connect to the youth walk on Facebook at the TWAV page. The teen walk is the first of two events
Saturday designed to bring the community together to meet the needs of at-risk teens. The Restore the Village campaign will hold a forum Sat. May 28 from 4-7pm at the P.A.L. Police Activities Center 424 N.E. 172nd (between Glisan and Burnside MAX stop).
MORE: Read our story with pics and video about the walk.
PHOTOS: Top, from left, LaQrisha Tyler; Jeremiah Howard; LaQuoya Tyler. Below: LaQrisha and LaQuoya Tyler with their grandmother, Roberta Tyler.