Summit aims to educate, prevent youth violence

Submitted photo Dora Jones (third from right) with MYA youth from Boys 2 Men Initiative

Last fall, more than 250 students, parents, and educators gathered to help put an end to youth violence. On June 29, the day-long Guns Down Youth Summit returns in response to requests to continue community conversations and work toward healing and end the gun violence in St. Paul.

“The purpose is to bring awareness to gun violence in our city,” Dora Jones, executive director of Mentoring Young Adults (MYA), told the MSR of the inaugural event. “Too many of our young people are being killed at the hands of gun violence,” added Jones, whose St. Paul-based MYA provides mentorship services for young adults, ages 13 to 25, around employment, housing, education, leadership development, employment, and community engagement.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, who will serve as keynote speaker, will be joined by St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi to discuss data and statistics for Ramsey County/St. Paul involving gun violence. Breakout sessions will also be held throughout the day to educate youth on alternative approaches to violence, trauma and healing, teenage pregnancy, STDs, and HIV prevention.

The 2019 Guns Down St. Paul Youth Summit takes place Saturday, June 29, 8 am – 3 pm at the High School for Recording Arts located at 1166 University Ave. West in St. Paul. Breakfast and lunch will also be provided. The event is free and open to the public. The first 50 youth (13 to 19 years old) will receive a $50 stipend.