Houston youth summit focuses on how to make changes in society in light of the Trayvon Martin case

August 10, 2013 8:35:13 PM PDT
It's been nearly one month since George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. After the trial, race relations in America took center stage with even the president calling for more conversation.

On Saturday, young Houstonians gathered to have that conversation.

They spent the morning at New Life Church in northwest Houston for a youth summit called Young Overcomers United. It's a conference with a special focus on how to make changes in society in light of the Martin case.

"We've got to do more than give sound bites and march," Bishop I.V. Hilliard of New Light Church said. "We've got to educate young people on how to handle, how to handle life, how to mitigate conflict, how to encounter law enforcement, how to navigate life."

"How they can handle their anger, how to manage it, how to deal with volatile situations whether at home, in the community, in the workplace," Rep. Sylvester Turner said.

The speakers shared a positive message with the many youth gathered at New Life Church.

"It's up to them, and it's no one else's responsibility to reach their full potential," said Rev. Leslie Smith, founder and CEO of Change Happens.

The participants say the problems of today are very real for them -- and disruptive.

"Pressure to fit in, peer pressure that goes on in society, as well as things such as racial profiling," participant Taylor Ross said.

Participants say this summit -- with the help of lawyers, judges, law enforcement, among other community professionals -- focused on solutions for them; not on fighting back with fists, but something more powerful.

"Gaining the knowledge so you know how to fight back and you know how to go through the system correctly and to overcome today's challenges," participant Nathaniel Jones said.

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