Eradicate Violence/Amplify Young Voices

Morris Ervin

Violence, especially youth violence, has a devastating impact on the community.

Violence is an ongoing cycle perpetuated in homes, schools, and in the streets. Youth are typically exposed to domestic violence at very early stages in their development. However, when a teenager commits a horrible act such as rape, robbery, or even murder, the initial causes that led to the manifestation of this atrocity go unnoticed.

The crisis begins long before the youth are released into the unforgiving world of public schools and savage streets. We continue to act surprised at the level of inhumanity and acts of violent crimes by our youth in schools and neighborhoods. We want to ignore the simple fact that some of our children who grow into rebellious teens and young adults are mimicking behavior from their environment.

The constant accumulation of stress, anxiety, disappointment, fear and many other daily frustrations are often too much for some youth to handle. Young people are like precious plants that need nurturing to stand strong and tall. Unfortunately, the heavy weight of poverty, environmental stress, abandonment, loss, and the natural pressures of growing up dismantle a young person’s physical and emotional well-being, stunting their development.

Trauma is rampant in homes and schools, and no one seems to have a real solution. Politicians, local law enforcement, faith-based organizations, and community leaders continue to search for a way to eradicate violence. We as the village cannot continue to point fingers and play the blame game.

Have we ever considered that a large percentage of young people affected by adverse childhood trauma go on to thrive and be successful? What makes some youth resilient in the face of adversity while others fall prey to a life of violence and crime?

One thing that sets a young person on their path to greatness is a discovery of their interests or talents. When young people are introduced to their true passion, they really see themselves for the first time. They have the vision and the fortitude to push past the limitations of their current circumstances. They tap into God’s greatest gift, the imagination. They learn that if they can conceive it, and believe it, then they can achieve it. We as adults need to honor and protect our youth, putting them front and center of this public health dilemma.

Let’s put our trust in the youth.

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