Virtual conference

The causes and prevention of youth violence are the focus of the virtual conference

The University of New Jersey City’s seventh annual Save The Youth event earlier this month gave community members broad insight into the systems that can keep Jersey City’s youth in cycles of violence and efforts to break these cycles.

The virtual event, held on April 12, followed the February fatal shooting of 15-year-old Devin Bryant. Recently, a 17-year-old was arrested in connection with Bryant’s death.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis,” said Heide Grant, an NJCU student who spoke about the shooting and the condition legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers in his presentation at the event. “We need leaders who have the courage to fight for us to stand up for the more than 200 Americans killed and injured every day,” she said.

Heide and other NJCU students specializing in public health education gave short, interactive lectures about mental and medical health facilities, the criminal justice system, and social service agencies with which many young people surrounded by violence interact. The final panel of the day discussed advocacy efforts and policies to improve outcomes for young people.

NJCU student Samantha Herrera shared research from Kaiser Permanente and the CDC showing that negative childhood experiences (called ACEs) such as abuse, neglect, and witnessing or being physical abuse can have negative health effects.

“Juvenile offenders are four times more likely to report experiencing four or more ACEs than most college-educated students,” Herrera said.

“Studies show that there is a direct link between childhood bullying and future incarceration, and this is due to someone struggling with unresolved anger or mental health issues,” confirmed student Arlene Albert. at the NJCU, during his presentation. “They’re going to face more abuse being behind bars…so school programs and resources that address the negative impacts of bullying make a big difference.”

Devin Bryant

Devin Bryant, shot February 12

Steven Campos, Director of Community Resources for CMO of the Hudson Partnershiphosted Save the Youth and spoke of her passion for helping children who come to the organization with a variety of emotional challenges.

“We work with a very targeted population of children who have had traumatic experiences in their lives that put them at higher risk due to gun violence,” Campos said. “Over the years you see these trends and you get very vocal and talk about changing systemic policies and programs so that we can have better outcomes for these children.”

Another nonprofit speaker was Pamela Johnson, executive director of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement. She explained:

“People think that in order to be a victim, someone has to do something to you. But we would say that people living in high concentration violent neighborhoods are all victims of violence.

According to Johnson, the movement just received a state grant for a career program that pairs at-risk teens with local unions to teach carpentry, electrical, plumbing and HVAC services. “We can place them not only in jobs but also in careers that will allow them to earn between $60,000 and $100,000 a year and take them to a very different place in their lives because they are now in able to provide for their families,” she added. mentioned.

Hospital staff and elected officials also offered insights into their day-to-day efforts to respond to and prevent youth violence.

LaShawn Overton, a trauma patient “navigator” with Jersey City Medical Center hudson project, spoke of “going to the bedside of gunshot victims, stabbing victims, victims of physical assault, sometimes domestic violence victims and helping them today to find 100% healing.”

Ward F Councilman Frank Gilmore, who was in attendance, said:

“One thing that I want the public to really understand is the mental health component in the black and brown community, because for a variety of reasons mental health has a negative connotation,” Gilmore said in an interview during an interview. a student presentation. “It’s something we don’t like to talk about in our community. It’s something that, when you talk about it, is stigmatized. I just want the public to know because there’s a good chance he’s serving this demographic in some form of social service.

According to Campos, Gilmore and State Assemblyman Angela McKnight, who also attended, have helped organize Save the Youth since the event’s inception seven years ago.

Other local resources for youth experiencing violence and their families include:

Trauma Recovery Center at Robert Wood Johnson Jersey City Medical Center

Provides free services available in person or remotely to those who have experienced a range of trauma including sexual assault, domestic violence, gun violence and other forms of community violence. The center also serves family members of homicide victims.

Contact: 201-839-2644; [email protected]

Guazabara Insights, LLC

Provides mentoring and education services on community reintegration, social awareness, and more.

Contact: Dennis Febo, CEO, 917-727-3326

Angela Cares Inc.

Provides projects and programs designed to help clients facing emergency situations, service activities, through our case management, workshops, volunteer activities, agency referrals and client follow-up.

Contact: CEO Angela McKnight, 201-685-7273

Hudson County Family Partners

Provides parent support services, support groups, advocacy and groups for youth with behavioral and mental health needs.

Phone: 201-915-5140