Violence is all over the world. It’s really a shame. It makes no sense why we solve most all of our issues with violence. It sickens my heart to wake up daily, turn on the news and see another person lost to ridiculous acts of violence.

Two acts of violence that really broke my heart were the 4-year-old girl who was struck by a car and died. And then there was 7-year-old Heaven, who was shot by a stray bullet while playing outside.

These young girls had bright futures ahead of them, but because people wanted to be stupid and be violent, they lost their innocent lives.

People see violence as a way to help solve anything and everything when that really is not the right way to go. As the great Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Turn the other cheek.” People need to learn to walk away, even if the situation is pointless.

Some people choose to escalate a resolvable situation into a violent confrontation. Why? Well I’m glad you asked. They are trying to be big and bad or maybe that’s what they grew up around, seeing violence everyday of their lives.

Society needs to sit back, relax, rewind and rethink violence. That’s why I joined the West Garfield Park Youth Council, where I am a current president. We teach the youth how to be a voice in their community, to be non-violent and stand up for what you believe in.

So if you have nowhere else to turn to and just want to give up on life, I want to encourage you to come join the West Garfield Park Youth Council. We meet every Monday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 4540 W. Washington.

The answer to preventing and stopping violence is simple: It’s up to us! We are young people who have the ability to be heard. It’s like the saying goes, “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.”

So if we don’t speak up, we will not be heard. Instead of complaining about all of this ridiculous violence, let’s stand up and do something about it.

Don’t just sit back and let it continue to grow, because that will mean we don’t care, and if we don’t care no one else will. That’s why violence has to stop. It’s completely out of control. So many dreams have turned into nightmares, good memories turned into bad ones, and it breaks happy homes. So please take a stand and let’s stop and/or reduce this violence in every community possible.

President Obama said it best, “Yes we can and yes we will”. Once the community sees that young people are taking a stand and being a voice in the community they will be in awe. They expect adults to do it all. Well, the young people have as much to say as they do. So be a big voice in your community and also please help stop the violence.

David Elam, 22, is president of the West Garfield Park Youth Council, which is sponsored by Fathers Who Care.