Washington, D.C. — Generation Progress, the youth outreach arm of the Center for American Progress, launched a first-of-its-kind National Youth Gun Violence Prevention Summit today. The summit will bring together more than 100 young people between the ages of 16 and 29 from 32 states. Over three days, attendees will focus on research, policy development, and building a national network of youth advocates fighting for stronger gun laws.
In conjunction with the summit, the Center for American Progress and Generation Progress today released a joint report that details the disproportionate impact of gun violence on young people. Among its findings, the report concludes that gun deaths will surpass car accidents as the leading killer of Americans under the age of 25 for the first time in 2015.
The 42 participating groups in the summit include: the White House, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the League of Young Voters, Million Hoodies, Dream Defenders, Americans for Responsible Solutions, the NAACP, National Action Network, Black Youth Project, Gun Free Kids, Global Grind, the Taproot Foundation, Peace is a Lifestyle, Organizing For Action, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and many others. The 100-plus individual participants include:
Carlos Soto from Newtown, Connecticut, is the brother of Victoria Leigh Soto, a teacher who was killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting.
Jamira Burley from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, serves as the executive director at Mayor Michael Nutter’s Office of the Philadelphia Youth Commission. Both of her parents and 10 of her brothers have been incarcerated, and one of her brothers was killed.
Camiella Williams, a graduate of Prairie State College in Illinois, is a former gang member who bought her first gun in the fifth grade for $25. She currently works as a liaison with Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) as an anti-violence community activist and gun-reform advocate.
Karina Vargas is now wheelchair-bound after getting shot in a drive-by in front of her high school in Colorado.
“The Gun Violence Prevention Summit allows young people from across the country to take charge of their future,” said Anne Johnson, Executive Director of Generation Progress. “Young Americans agree that gun violence is getting out of hand, and this widespread concern means it’s time to act.”
The new report analyzes data from the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other sources to evaluate the disproportionate impact of gun violence on America’s youth. Top findings of the report include:
In 2010, gun violence was the second-highest cause of death among American youth ages 15 to 24.
54 percent of people murdered with guns in 2010 were under the age of 30.
Gun deaths result in more than 1 million years of potential life lost each year.
“There is a crisis of youth gun violence in this country,” said Chelsea Parsons, Associate Director for Crime and Firearms Policy at the Center for American Progress. “With an American under the age of 25 dying by gunfire every 70 minutes, it is well past time to recognize that gun violence among youth is an urgent problem that must be addressed.”
The conference, which starts Friday at 5 p.m. and will extend through Sunday, will include sessions on gun policy, organizing trainings, and action planning. This summit will launch the Generation Progress Gun Violence Prevention Network, which will support these students and young advocates as they build a movement and fight for change in their communities.