Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor hosted a community conference for the youth Thursday at Bethel A.M.E Church.
The conference was held to get the youth perspective on the cause of recent violence and how the community can help decrease it.
Proctor asked local politicians, community leaders and the youth of Tallahassee to help find a solution to the violence in the area by participating in an open forum style conference.
The meeting focused on several key topics to reduce violence in the community: education, family influence and job opportunities within the community and how they can assist or correct these issues.
Darius Whitehead, a FAMU political science/pre-law student from Pompano Beach, Fla., was a member of the youth panel. He said that the root of violence amongst the youth is trying to impress their peers through social media.
“It’s about publicity and attention,” said Whitehead. “When I was growing up I was told that the root of all evil was money. Now today, it’s attention.”
He added that today’s youth lack the fear of consequences and authority.
“It’s a hard hand that should come down on you before the police come,” said Whitehead. “It’s about having that authority figure and they don’t fear any consequences.”
Julia Osagie, another youth panelist, explained to the audience that in order to fix any of the youth’s problems, the older generation will have to attempt a newer approach.
“We’re a completely different generation,” said Osagie. “Old ways of fixing things are not going to address our issues.”
Brad Johnson, the leader of the youth panel, told elders that they have to give the youth a chance and present them with opportunities.
“Even in your nook and cranny of life, you can offer someone in this room an opportunity,” said Johnson. “But young people, y’all have to take it.”
Whitehead suggested that the leaders should come to the schools and present the youth with alternative activities.
“You can’t invite a kid somewhere; you have to take it to them,” said Whitehead.
Proctor commended this generation’s courage while acknowledging that it needs to be constructed in a positive way.
“Whatever you want to say about today’s generation, this generation is not scared at all,” said Proctor. “In fact, had previous generations had your courage, we would be a lot further along.”
Proctor was satisfied with the turnout and the response from the young people.
“It was very stimulating,” said Proctor. “I thought it went across the waterfront of topics.”
The next community conference will be held on Thursday, July 9th. Time and location to be announced.