OPen Mic Night_Pic 2

A D.C. teen, with the stage name Big Ghost, performed a song called “A-1.

It takes a community to raise a child, and also to stop youth violence.

More than 300 D.C. residents, varying in age, participated in the “Youth and Community Open Mic Night” event June 16 in the Southeast quadrant of the city. The event was part of a summer initiative created by a citywide Public Safety Committee with a goal of addressing issues surrounding youth violence such as territorialism within neighborhoods, old disputes, and exposure to trauma.

“It’s a collaboration with the Superior Court, the MPD, and community-based partners and stakeholders to try to reduce violence and increase peace; it’s a crime prevention initiative,” Terri Odom, director of the juvenile probation division told the AFRO.

Members of the committee included the Metropolitan Police Department, Family Court Social Services Division (juvenile probation), East River Family Strengthening Collaborative, Department of Parks and Recreation, Collaborative Solutions for Communities, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (adult probation), the Executive Office of the Mayor, the Greater Washington Islamic Community, and D.C. residents.

The committee has been meeting for two months to create solutions to stem the recent spike of violence in Ward 7. According to police crime data, there have been 61 homicides in D.C. as of June 20.

The event included thumping music provided by DJ Flava, from local radio station WKYS. DJ Kid Kid and DJ Toxsick, filled the gymnasium as youth poured in excited by the atmosphere. A teen, known as Big Ghost, approached the mic with a song called “A-1.”

“ investing in resources and giving the kids a hopeful experience,” Odom said.