‘It’s our responsibility to guide them back': Local seminar tackles rising youth gun violence

As violent crimes continue to impact communities around Seattle, a group of elders, parents, and community met in an effort to change and save lives. They met for the first ever Youth Violence Conflict Resolution seminar.

The goal—decrease or eliminate youth gun violence.

"We’re here today as family," said Eugene Youngblood. "We want to share love. We know that a lot of our young people have gotten on the wrong path.

Dozens of people showed up Sunday at The Northwest African American Museum to talk changing, including Youngblood who is a former inmate-turned-criminal justice advocate and NAACP member.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Local seminar to discuss youth violence, conflict resolution in Seattle

He, along with others, talked about the need for change within the home and community when young people are involved.

"So, for us, as elders, it is our responsibility to help guide them back the right way," he said.

Panelists also discussed past decades when young people could turn to their neighbors for help.

"I was born and raised in Seattle," said Ted Evans Jr. "It was such a good feeling, just growing up knowing your neighbor and the people down the block had love for you. They could pull up on you and tell you this or that." 

The seminar also included impact speakers; people directly impacted by gun violence.

People like Selena Taylor, who lost her son Ezra Nehemiah Taylor, spoke to the crowd.

Ezra was one of three people fatally shot outside of La Familia Sports Pub and Lounge in Des Moines on Sept. 26, 2021 after a dispute inside the bar spilled into the parking lot. Two other people were shot and killed that night as well. 

"He had so much integrity," she said. "He loved people."

Taylor has since turned her pain into purpose. She heads Ezra’s Hands Outreach.

ALSO READ: Seattle moms form support group for parents of murdered children

"It’s about connecting with people and the young too," Taylor told FOX 13. "It’s about telling people they’re loved and getting to them before they pick up a gun."

Taylor, like many in the crowd are making it their mission to step in and identify issues before a gun is picked up.

"You need to be involved," she said. "I know that a change can happen with many people in the circle when it comes to gun violence. We must be present."

Organizers and participants in Sunday’s Youth Violence Conflict Resolution Seminar hope to hold similar seminars in other cities around the sound soon.