Curbing violence is top of discussion in youth-led panel

CHARLOTTE — Young members of the Charlotte community discussed gun violence and possible solutions at a forum Thursday night.

The teens hope that their young minds can make a change that’ll last a lifetime.

“If I go to the mall, if I go to school, I don’t know if it’s going to be my last day there,” said Gaven Getter, 17, a student at The Fletcher School.

A dozen high-schoolers shared their concerns at the youth-led town hall inside the Government Center in Uptown.

Students, parents, and community leaders shared ideas on how to improve safety.

“With this, I hope that we can enact some form of change, you know, whether it be just hard and hardening down on juvenile crimes and crimes, in general, or maybe focusing on a new rehabilitation program,” Getter said.

Councilmember Tiawanna Brown, D-District 3, encouraged teen panelists to share their experiences.

“I’ve never been afraid to be in Charlotte, but I’m afraid now,” said Brown, who has lived in Charlotte throughout her life.

Some suggested stricter gun laws, self-defense training, and more education for parents, which can be passed down to their kids.

“We always talk about our youth,” Brown said. “A lot of times, we talk at them and not to them. And we don’t listen. Everybody gets to listen.”

Getter said he hopes to one day wake up to less crime instead of seeing another shooting in the headlines.

“We’re kids,” Getter said. “We’re supposed to have a childhood, not a life of crime.”

Mayor Vi Lyles, on Thursday, shared a letter on social media, which was addressed to the youth of Charlotte.

Lyles said that their voices, their ideas, and their actions are crucial in the fight against gun violence.

VIDEO: Community activists say juvenile laws need to change

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