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Empowered Youth Town Hall addresses gun violence, youth issues in Denver

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Posted at 5:05 PM, Feb 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-24 19:10:55-05

DENVER — More than 100 people gathered for the Empower Youth Town Hall at West High School in Denver Saturday.

The event was organized by the Silva Family Foundation and Generation Schools Network (GSN,) a Colorado-based nonprofit that co-creates healthy school ecosystems by partnering with educators, students, families and communities.

The two groups have been a part of introducing new legislation, HB24-1216, that outlines the Justice-Engaged Student Bill of Rights (JESBOR).

Sponsors of the bill said it would help students who get in trouble with the law, get back on track with their education faster.

Alison Lauge, the Vice President of Development and Partnership for GSN said around 22,000 students in Colorado are impacted by this annually.

"We found that there's a lot of bumps and issues that they run into, and things that kind of prevent them from getting back into school quickly," said Lauge. "We introduced a bill to talk about a Student Bill of Rights establishing a hotline. So once a student becomes justice-engaged, a parent can call into the hotline and get advice and guidance. And really, it's just trying to solve for some of those students that run into issues once they become justice engaged to get them back into school quicker."

Empowered Youth Town Hall addresses gun violence, youth issues in Denver

Denver7 spoke with a high school freshman who attended the town hall and said it was important for her to participate to speak about the variety of issues youth are facing.

"We're speaking for ourselves and speaking what we're doing and speaking for the community," said student, Angelique Lovato.

Panelists included Denver city council members, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas, Rep. Jen Bacon, DPS School board Director Marlene DelaRose, youth panelists and more. It took place to address the intersection of education, gun violence, justice engagement and community solutions, according to event organizers.

"Just the response we've seen from students, I mean, it's a beautiful Saturday morning, and yet they're here because they want to give that input on their future, and those things that are affecting them," added Lauge.

Students and families can take part in the 100 Voices Student survey, to provide testimony to the legislature.

You can click here for more information.

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