Photo caption: Dr. Michael A. McGee (left) with young volunteers
In observance of National Youth Violence Prevention Week, Project Outreach & Prevention (POP), Positive Approach to Teen Health (PATH), the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency and Friendly Temple COGIC partnered to engage more than 5,000 high school students through the Peace, Unity & Love Tour. This annual conference is a part of POP’s Public Health Initiative and was concluded Friday, April 28 with appearances at Merrillville High Schools and West Side Leadership Academy in Gary, Indiana.
According to POP founder Dr. Michael McGee, the conference was designed to deliver messages of peace and challenges students, teachers, administrators and other community leaders to use effective methods to prevent violence in schools.
“The Peace, Unity & Love Tour offers an environment where high school students are an active part of the solution when it comes to developing and embracing ways to eliminate violent behavior and acts in our schools,” said McGee. “This week has been nothing short of powerful, and I am honored to close it out in a big way in my hometown. Our program aims to help young people develop a non-violent mindset that extends beyond the classroom and into their daily lives.”
In addition to an impressive line-up of motivational speakers who continue to deliver information on creating safe schools and neighborhoods, there was live entertainment, a presentation by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement on their Gun Safety Storage Initiative and a demonstration on how to “stop the bleed” a Homeland Security program that teaches bystanders to assist someone with a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.
“In a climate where violence has become normalized, it is imperative that we inform and empower our youth to learn preventive measures, take action and make wise decisions,” added McGee. “I was inspired by how receptive the youth have been this week. They want to do their part to stop the violence in their communities.”
The initiative is funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, POP and the Friendly Temple COGIC.
Event Dates and Locations were:
Friday, April 28th – Merrillville High School in the morning and West Side Leadership Academy in the afternoon.
The speakers were as follows: Dr. Michael A. McGee – ER Physician & CEO of Premier Health Network in Hyde Park); National Chairman of the National Medical Association (NMA) Council on Violence Prevention; 100 Black Men of America’s Violence Prevention Committee, and American College of Emergency Medicine Physicians DIHE Firearm Violence & Injury Prevention Committee.
Dr. Ken Wilson – University of Chicago Hospital Chief of Trauma Wilson addressed the growing epidemic of youth violence in our communities while encouraging youth to find alternatives through conflict resolution.
Dr. Abdullah Pratt – University of Chicago Emergency Physician Dr. Abdullah Pratt lost his brother and several close friends to violence on the South Side of Chicago and is the Founder of the University of Chicago Medical Careers Exposure & Emergency Preparedness Program (MCEEP).
Butta the Preacher empowered students through personal stories of how violence has affected his life and that his path of spreading a message of peace is saving lives.
Tre Boswell of March for Our Lives, an organization created to mobilize the nation to end gun violence
Aaliyah Stewart founder of the ASW Foundation, an organization that has grown into a movement to stop the senseless gun violence in our communities
The entertainment was provided by DEEJAYY_TY and POWER 92.3’s Hot Rod kept the crowd energized by spinning the hottest hits in between presentations.
Trice Da Artist is a singer and songwriter who promotes anti-violence and delivered one of her signature energetic performances.