‘Youth Speak Out’ Event invites suggests on improving the community

Suggestions on the Youth Wall at the Northway Mall. Hillman/KSKA
Suggestions on the Youth Wall at the Northway Mall. Hillman/KSKA

The NAACP and Global Block are trying to get youth to speak up about their needs and what they want from the Anchorage community. They hosted an event Saturday at the Northway Mall.  Though icy streets and sidewalks kept the crowds small, forty youth posted ideas on a wall. They said they wanted things like more activities, youth centers, go karts, places to feel safe, and a clean environment.

University student Joycelyn Weaver says kids need more things to do in order to keep them off the streets, but they also just need adults to listen to them.

“I feel like sometimes when we speak to adults about what we think, it’s not all the way taken seriously. And it could be the way that we’re approaching it. I think it’s just finding the right adult to listen to you and hear your problems. It’s important because once that one adult hears you, they tell other adults and it becomes like a gang of adults who are willing to do something and make a difference.”

George Martinez with the Global Block Foundation helped coordinate the event. “So what we were able to do is have some local artists, local DJs to create this celebratory environment really about framing the opportunity for young people’s voices to be heard and they can leave a mark on the city with their suggestions.”

Martinez says the event was a continuation of the conversation started with the school district earlier this month on how to help young people of color succeed. He says they will host similar events in the future.