Young people learn to fight violence

Three thousand children could be the new soldiers in the war against violence on the streets of St. Louis.

The head of Better Family Life believes it's going to take the children packed into the Chaifetz Arena Wednesday to stop young people from killing each other.

BFL organized a camp filled with hip hop artists and bands to entertain the children while they tried to give them the message. They are children who hear and see the killings on their streets.

They said they don't feel empowered to do anything about it. And they don't feel like they have a voice.

"Nobody really comes to ask our opinion," said 16-year-old Arnold Cohn.

He and his friend Camryn Johnson have stories to tell.

"I know kids who have been hurt, I just lost a friend, Chauncey Brown to a senseless violence," said Cohn. "I know three people who were shot like that," said Johnson.

They said most of their friends think it's an honor to live to see their 18th birthday.

"It's hard on us we have to wake up to it," said Johnson. They often wake up to fear. "It's scary because you think who's next is it me?," said Johnson.

Better Family Life CEO Malik Ahmed says he wants to empower these children to stop the violence by telling them to organize peace rallies, tell other kids to put down the pistols and the guns, report crimes they see, and involve their parents in organizing block watches.

"We can't keep killing each other, that's the one thing I hear from this rally," said Cohn

Arnold and Camryn know the voices that matter in the Chaifetz Arena need to matter on the streets. That's where children are dying, and neighbors are shot, and innocent people live in killing fields.


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