The youth town hall is part of a joint effort with United Way of Metropolitan Chicago called the "positive image initiative." The goal is to engage young people from under-served neighborhoods in conversation about how to stem violence. They have some strong ideas.
"If we have more people in the community come together about one issue, it'll get to the point where you have so many people advocating for one issue that the representatives have no choice but to listen," said Armando Villanueva, youth town hall participant from Rogers Park.
"Everybody needs to be a part of No Child Left Behind and It Takes A Village to raise a child type of model. If one child is receiving the necessary attention and love then the next child should be able to say 'Hey, your mom is providing this for you, where can I get that,' and their mom should take up the initiative and say "Well, you're my son, too.' They should be able to be dependent on other people in their neighborhood when they don't get it at home," said Iesha Alexandra, youth town hall participant from North Lawndale.
"If I were given the opportunity to speak to the youth of Chicago, I would tell them one word: Read. Education is vital," said Christopher Mitchell, youth town hall participant from Chatham.
ABC7 Chicago and United Way of Metro Chicago are committed to working with these young people to help them positively impact their communities.