February 1, 2023- Mr. Keith Lewis is the founder of the Youth Task Force, and he plans to use the momentum created with his I’m a Father First initiative to create a coalition of community stakeholders to save our youth. The Youth Task Force will be a peer specialist operation with a founding principle of stopping the genocidal impulses that are plaguing urban communities throughout the nation.
During the summer of 2022, 11Alive News juxtaposed crime statistics in Atlanta and Chicago. Considering the population difference, the journalists counted the crime rate per 100,000 people and discovered that murder and aggravated assault statistically transpired more in the city of Atlanta than in a metropolis, triple its population, and renowned for gang violence. The city of Atlanta would close the year with 170 homicides in 2022 (a third consecutive record), and that statistic set off an alarm.
The Youth Task Force will bring together organizers, justice-impacted citizens, elected officials, law enforcement officials, academics, and business owners among other groups to assist in building a safety net for young men and women. The organization plans to be a very present partner in the lives of young people offering assorted resources and assistance not limited to jobs and skills training. The Youth Task Force will be present in the lives of young people by engaging them where they are physically, mentally, and emotionally. We will work with schools to identify young people who are struggling because too often young men mentally check out of school before they physically drop out. Twenty-one percent of young adults in Georgia, ages 18 to 24, do not have a diploma/GED and are not enrolled in school, or working; they are not successfully transitioning to adulthood. And, tragically, as seen by increased violence around the city of Atlanta involving juveniles with guns, the time to act is now.
The criminal justice system cannot be our most preeminent solution to saving our sons and daughters to gangs, dependency, and prisons. The Youth Task Force will be a presence at community events, local games, YMCA’s, school functions, anywhere, to serve as mentors, conflict resolvers, or listening ears. By becoming a visible presence in our communities we will begin to disseminate information on real pathways out of circumstances that young people find difficult to navigate. Nationally, the age-adjusted suicide rate for males increased 3% in 2022. The notion that we have to continue to watch these negative statistics tick towards further destruction of another generation of black people. The Youth Task Force seeks to build a united front for the sake of preserving self-respect, community pride, and life. Join us:
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