AURORA, Colo. — This weekend, the nonprofits Illuminate and A Promising Future are sponsoring a youth led and organized forum that will allow 14- to 25-year-olds to express how they feel about the recent uptick in teen violence in Aurora.
“They are as much contributors to society as adults are, so why should their voices not be amplified? Why should their voices not be heard?” A Promising Future Program Director Tia Davis-Burns said. “Giving them the opportunity to have the platform, it allows us adults to see that they are more capable than what we give them credit for. They are more valuable than what we acknowledge, and their voices do matter.”
Shana Shaw, the executive director of the nonprofit Compound of Compassion, also plans to help with the forum. Shaw said it’s time to give youth a platform so that adults can hear about their fears and possible solutions to stop violence.
“What about the child that’s in the bathroom that's being traumatized by the latest shooting? How are they sleeping at night?... How are they coping with the experience of literally being faced with a life or death situation because bullets don’t have names?” Shaw said.
Following several weeks of shootings involving teens, the Aurora Police Department recently announced increased patrols near schools.
Shaw said that’s a reactionary response, but it’s time to be proactive.
“The charge from Chief Wilson to parents was to start getting involved,” Shaw said. “Why not let the parents do the patrolling? Take the funding, create a parent patrol and let the parents be at the schools and do the patrolling.”
Shaw said this is a proposal she plans to discuss with the city.
The youth forum and discussion will be held Saturday, Dec. 4 at Overland High School from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for youth ages 14 to 25 years old. Another forum will be held for middle school students from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday at Global Village Academy.
(Note: A previous version of this story mentioned the discussion taking place at Gateway High School. It is happening at Overland HS)