Mourning Young People’s Lives Lost to Gun Violence

Young people have the right to lead safe and healthy lives. But gun violence and white supremacy have created an unsafe world for too many. 

This weekend, two utterly senseless tragedies took young people’s lives.  In Alabama, a mass shooting disrupted a Sweet 16 birthday party, taking four lives and injuring at least 28 other people. The Advocates for Youth family mourns the loss of Marsiah Collins, Corbin Holston, Philstavious Dowdell, and Keke Smith.

In Kansas City, Ralph Yarl was shot when he knocked on the door of the wrong home as he tried to pick up his siblings. Our hearts are with Ralph Yarl and his loved ones and we wish him healing and a strong recovery for the path ahead. We also demand accountability for his shooting. 

No group or person who works with Black youth should disregard the toll this atmosphere of fear and violence takes. It impacts all of our work, because it impacts the young people we work with.  We cannot separate this trauma from the work we are trying to do with young people. We must, as advocates for youth health and rights, work for an end to violence and white supremacy. Our young people certainly deserve opportunity, education, and fulfillment.  And at a bare minimum they deserve safety in their communities.