Some 1,200 youths marched through Northern Virginia Feb. 19 to emphasize the role of youth in preventing violence and crime. The march was held in conjunction with the National Crime Prevention Council’s National Youth Summit Against Youth Violence, which drew youth from more than 40 states to participate in four days of discussion about how to change the perception of young people as violent.
The march culminated in a rally featuring speeches by the Rev. Markel Hutchins of Atlanta, president of the National Youth Connection, and Christopher Furlow from the White House Office of Homeland Security. Youths selected to represent their states took the stage to give Furlow a list of recommendations, including school-supported community service projects and mentoring programs in law enforcement, fire and emergency medicine. Marchers also hoped to encourage the news media to focus more on youth efforts toward peace rather than on youth violence.
Sarah Ingersoll, executive director of the National Campaign Against Youth Violence (NCAYV), hopes the march will grow in coming years. “In the wake of Sept. 11, young people are part of what is making our country stronger,” she said, “and the country should be investing heavily in young people, along with other security measures.”