April 22, 2022
Contact: Matt Maisel, Director of Communications
[email protected], (717) 678-5166

HARRISBURG – Teenagers and young adults in the City of Harrisburg will soon be given a platform to have their voices heard.

The recent spike in gun violence has led Councilwoman Jocelyn Rawls to organize a youth summit for the younger members of the Harrisburg community to speak out. Titled #OurLivesMatter, the teen-led event will give Harrisburg youth a safe space to engage in meaningful conversations with members of the Harrisburg Police Bureau, Dauphin County judges, and other community leaders.

“It is time to get feedback from our youth and young adults to see what we as a community can do to help them combat the recent rise in crime within Harrisburg,” Rawls said. The Kappa Omega chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated and myself thought it was imperative to show our youth and young adults that their voices matter, we see them, and as a community, and local government we want to work with them as a team to create a city that supports and encourages their growth and future.”

The teen summit will be held Wednesday, May 18 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Camp Curtin Academy, located at 2900 North 6th Street. Students between the ages of 11 and 21 looking to be a panelist for the event are asked to contact Councilwoman Rawls at [email protected]. Eleven years old may be seem young, Rawls admits, but added age 11 is a turning point in a child’s development, when they can be easily influenced. She hopes younger children can show up so the event can teach them how to turn negatives into positives.

Rawls is hoping to get 11 to 15 students and young adults to participate as panelists.

The summit is being organized to give City of Harrisburg youth a chance to talk about the violence they’re witnessing and experiencing, which is impacting their friends and family, Rawls said. She hopes a setting with open dialogue will lead to solutions on ways to curb the recent crime spike in the city.

Parents are welcome and encouraged to join their children at the event.

“Come and listen and speak and let your voices be heard,” Rawls says her message is to parents. “Let your suggestions be placed in the ears of those who care. It takes a village to build a community that is safe and productive. Let’s start working together.”

The #OurLivesMatter teen summit is free and open to the public. No registration is needed. There is a 100-person capacity limit, and it is requested if attending, you arrive at the Camp Curtin Academy as early as possible to secure a spot.

“These voices are the cornerstone of this teen summit, because unfortunately, their age group are the ones falling victim to recent crimes in the city,” Rawls said. “How can we create solutions without involving the party that participates in those crimes, falls victim to those crimes, and are affected by those crimes? Those are the questions we need to answer.”

For additional information and questions about the event, please contact Matt Maisel, Director of Communications for the City of Harrisburg, at (717) 255-7295.