Arshana Grigler

“I don’t really know anyone personally who has been affected by violence, but in the community, yes. Some students at our school have died from violence, but it hasn’t affected me badly. It makes me want to do more things, like expand my life, go to college and find a better life than what is in the community.”

Matthew Burrell

“I know a couple of people who have been jumped-on just walking home from school. I feel that to stop violence, it’s really peer pressure because in the past, I was doing crazy things like that, but I changed. I felt like, ‘What is the point in that’? I’m getting older and as you get older you need to grow in body and mind. I think that peer pressure is a very strong thing that makes violence come out. There needs to be more leaders who say ‘What are you doing that for?’ Like myself, I got involved in some sports and other things, like youth guidance, football, wrestling and track. That keeps me from getting myself into trouble.”

Shikia Redmond

“Yes, I see it with friends or even relatives. I’ve seen a young lady be in an abusive relationship and I don’t understand how she accepts this. This makes me think twice about boys and relationships. When I see the violence on TV, it makes me slow down-I don’t do a lot of things I would like to do. It makes it hard to enjoy things, like going to the movies or visiting friends because you don’t want to be in the wrong place where you might get shot. I just try my best to do the right thing and be aware of where I go.”

Kenesha Harris

“I know a lot people who have been affected by violence, including myself. Everyone around me has been affected. I’ve had more than one friend this year affected. I don’t care who says they are not affected by violence- they are. You look at the news everyday saying ‘There is a kid who was killed.’ One thing we can do to change the violence is to have more activities for the kids, like a recreational center in every neighborhood; not just the neighborhoods with violence, but every neighborhood.”

Ivory Campbell

“Yes, I do know a person who was killed. He attended my school, and he was shot. He was a nice person who liked to dance. It hurt me that he was killed over something he had nothing to do with. And it hurts to see the violence every night. What I do with my friends is sit down and talk to them about positive things. A bullet does not have anyone’s name on it, so a bullet can hit anyone at any time. But when I talk to people I ask ‘Why do we need violence?’ and, ‘How can we stop the violence from coming into our neighborhood?’ By doing this, I try to act as a role model in my school.”

Tierra Clark

“I know someone affected by violence. He went to our school. He was shot and it left the school in mourning for a while until we all came together as a family. What is going on in our community needs to stop. The boy that was shot was 18. It happened this year. The way I try to help my friends is through my poetry because they are not going to sit and listen to you unless they are entertained. So what I have to say, I say through my poetry. I also go to church. I believe if you go to church you will find a spiritual connection to help you with what you’re going through. You have to be around a positive atmosphere. That will help you be cool. You don’t have to go to violence; you can look another way rather than going off on people or trying to kill people. That is not the way to go.”

Shawenna Amos

“I know about just the violence in school; I don’t know a specific person. As far as school, it’s sad to see everyday. I watch the news and another person is gone. This is bad; it is terrible. Many kids are probably dropping out of school because it starts in the neighborhoods and they bring it to the schools. We have numerous things that happen outside the school. They bring it to class and that can lead to violence. I just like to keep a positive thought, and hope this does not continue.”