City's youth want a seat at the table to discuss violence with Philadelphia officials

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As Philadelphia routinely sees violent nights, some of the city's youngest residents want a seat at the table when it comes to addressing the crime in their neighborhoods.

A youth founded resource center is meeting with city officials on Wednesday to talk about the changes they want to see.

"It's going to be youth now, not just adults, not just older people, but our youth because they're the ones who are really being affected, and they're the ones losing their lives. They should also be giving their input," said Akayla Brown, Founder of Dimplez 4 Dayz Inc.

Brown is the founder of Dimplez 4 Dayz, Inc., one of the city's few, if not the only, youth founded and led resource centers for kids.

RELATED: Local teen opens resource center for kids to escape Philadelphia violence

Brown is now a Howard University Freshman and says Wednesday's meeting with the city came after seeing the city's Listening Tour had hardly any kids in attendance.

The Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice & Public Safety tells Action News it's critical to engage youth in the process.

"We created the 2022 Community Listening Tour Youth-Focused Event in partnership with community-based organization Dimplez 4 Dayz because we understand how essential it is that our young people be involved in the gun violence prevention solution," said Erica Atwood, Senior Director of the Office for Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice & Public Safety.

"Young people in Philadelphia continue to be at risk of experiencing or committing gun violence, and it is a critical that we engage them in this process. By creating a dedicated space and time for our youth to express themselves and give us their insight, we hope to better cater our programs and violence prevention initiatives to vulnerable young people across the city."

"Just having a seat at the table and allowing them to speak about resources, the importance of programming, safe havens, and their voices be heard is vital," said Angela Richardson, Executive Director of Dimplez 4 Dayz.

For more information, visit: https://www.dimplez4dayz.org/
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