We recently had the chance to sit down with young people to hear more about their perspective on violence in their communities and what is and isn’t making things better. Here’s some of what they had to say …

+  “It’s [the violence] not hopeless, but y’all  haven’t done near enough to fix it. There’s nothing in our neighborhood.”

+  “Police officers are people, too. They have good days and bad days and that comes out in how they deal with people. They [police] also need to understand that kids just want to hang out and I can’t say this enough, there are very few places for us to do that.”

+  “My mentor didn’t give up on me. When I skipped a few times, she came and got me. Came to the corner.”

+ “Parents need to be parents, and not their kids’ friends.”

+  “You have NO idea how easy it is to get a gun.”

+ “There’s good hassling like when teachers and mentors are trying to keep you on task, and there’s bad hassling, you know what I mean?  Where people are just messing with you to mess with you.”

+  “Why don’t they survey the kids in all these neighborhoods and ask them what they need and want? A rec center, a park, more jobs. We need jobs, that’s for sure.”