Teens tell Portland officials how to stop gangs

Teens tell Portland officials how to stop gangs

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by Wayne Havrelly, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 5, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Updated Sunday, Apr 6 at 11:27 AM

PORTLAND -- Gang violence continues to be a problem in the Rose City, but some of our regions brightest young people are trying to make things better. 

Saturday, high school students from all over Multnomah county spent the day coming up with ideas to stem the violence.

"I lost a friend in the summer of 2001," said Ana Meza whose friend Larry Ma was gunned down in a gang shooting 3 years ago. 

There have been no arrests.   It's why she got involved with the Youth Against Violence Committee when it formed 3 years ago. 

"I know there are still plenty of shootings in Portland," said Meza. "So we really want to help reduce the violence,"

Anna's committee brainstormed with over 300 students from area high schools at the Ambridge Event Center in Portland Saturday. 

"Why did I get involved?" said Seram Akoto, "Basically, to become the middle man, the spokesperson between the youth and the adults."

Akoto and his friends believe their age gives them a distinct advantage in creating programs to bridge the gap between gangs and police.

The group has already recommended policy changes to lawmakers that would bring more opportunities and activities to at-risk youth all over Multnomah County.  From expanding after school programs, to bringing rival gang members together for mediation, local lawmakers got a chance to hear some fresh ideas.   

For more information on the youth against violence committee go the committee's website.

 

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