Youth council plans forum

Published 10:05 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Youth from Suffolk and the surrounding area will meet this month to discuss misplaced priorities.

The forum, presented by the youth council of the Suffolk-Nansemond branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will help motivate students to stay in school and discuss what organizers call the “misplaced priorities” of government spending, which they say invests more money into incarceration than into education.

The event will be held Aug. 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at East End Baptist Church, 523 E. Washington St.

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“This is a part of our youth council’s mission to bring to attention our misplaced priorities,” said Tyron Riddick, president of the youth council.

The forum will feature a speaker named Gary Bush, who was just released from state penitentiary.

“He had a very promising career in football; however, he made the wrong decisions,” Riddick said. “He had to face the harsh reality most of our youth may not face.”

Riddick said the event also will include a presentation from a police officer and giveaways of school supplies, a step team and praise dances.

“We’re putting a highlight on our positive students,” Riddick said. “We’re aiming to get our youth fired up with a new mindset, a mindset of not sagging your pants or disrespecting your teachers and doing your homework. We’re definitely trying to keep those issues from happening.”

Riddick said last year’s inaugural event attracted 300 youth from throughout the state.

“It’s not even a race thing, because crime and illiterate youth don’t have a color,” Riddick said. “What we really have to do is focus on the issues.”

Riddick said the information collected at the event will be used to help inform the group’s communications with the Suffolk Youth Advisory Council and City Council.

“We’re partnering with several other organizations to eat this elephant,” he said. “We need to really combat this epidemic that is affecting our youth.”

For more information on the event, call Riddick at 274-3889.