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Youth speaking out: Teens express concerns at town hall meeting

Teens express concerns at town hall meeting (WKRC)
Teens express concerns at town hall meeting (WKRC)
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CINCINNATI (Angela Ingram) - Some of the youngest voices spoke out at a community meeting aimed at dealing with violence in Cincinnati.

Teens from all over the city came to the College Hill Recreation Center to talk about a recent string of youth suicides and also some of the city's murders. Iyanah Smith is a student at Dater High School and sat in the crowd with her friends.

"We know a lot of people who've been shot. We've known the people who've committed suicide. We've been there for all of it," said Smith.

This meeting drew in teens who wanted to express their concerns to city council, the police chief, and the mayor. This is the second meeting that Smith and her friends attended.

She said, "I just really wanted to get my point across because we had gone to the meeting in Bond Hill. I didn't feel like our voices were being heard."

Neighbors are concerned about the latest fatal officer-involved shooting and quality of life issues, but teens talked about the lack of activities to keep young people out of trouble.

"The only resources that they give to us, they're like, 'oh we have an art program.' I'm someone who doesn't really care for art. So art doesn't appeal to me," said Sierra Worsham who is also a student at Dater.

Worsham believe a variety of sports and art programs would be more helpful to teens. Members of city council encouraged the idea that all adults should be concerned about the youth.

Councilwoman Yvette Simpson said, "The kids that you're talking about, the parents that you're talking about, they go on to do great things when people care."

The group of teens believes that if they have taken the time to come to the meetings, the least adults can do is help provide some solutions.

"What really needs to be talked about is the youth. It's us. We're the future. We're what's coming up next," said Worsham.

Councilwoman Simpson suggested sign-up sheets to connect people to resources for the next meeting. It's Monday, Feb. 29, at the Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center.

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