Pathways 2 Power (P2P) is a student-led activist group at TMA that aims to bring youth voice to critical community issues and create a safer, healthier city. In November, P2P participated in Peace Walks DC’s “DC Peacemaker Summit”. Peace Walks DC is a community of gun violence survivors, organizations, and activists that work together to end gun violence and state violence in the D.C. Metropolitan area.
This year’s summit focused on building community-centered solutions to end gun violence and creating building blocks for community care and healing. In a span of three days, they hosted two virtual panel discussions and a solidarity peace walk to end gun violence. Twelfth graders and core leaders with P2P, Saudia and Jamiah, represented TMA well as they advocated for youth and shared their ideas for change on various panels.
Saudia was a part of the first panel, We Keep Us Safe / Prevention, and shed light on experiences young people have trying to navigate safety in DC. Saudia shared that saying “be safe” to a friend or classmate before parting ways is both a meaningful and scary experience. “It is sad that people my age have to say that to each other because we are scared that we won’t see each other again. If we don’t feel safe in our community then where else can we feel safe.”, said Saudia.
Throughout the discussion, many expressed their views on how to keep their community safe. With experience from Pathways 2 Power, Saudia has built skills and taken opportunities to share her ideas with leaders and officials to encourage change. A major concern for Saudia was youth voice being meaningfully incorporated, “I am tired of youth coming up with ideas and them never being used. I just hope that they take what we said into consideration and actually follow through.”
On day two, Jamiah spoke on the Self-Care and Community Care / Healing panel, which was her first as a Pathways 2 Power member. She was amazed at inter-generational unity throughout the conversation as they discussed ways to create an environment of support and understanding. Jamiah shared the importance of practicing in our own lives the kind of progress we wish to see reflected in the larger community.
The summit concluded with a peace walk in honor of Christopher Brown, a 17-year old who was taken by gun violence in August. Community leaders, gun violence survivors, activists, and supporters gathered safely to walk and bring awareness to the importance of ending gun violence.