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Rep. Cori Bush launches student initiative after emotional youth ‘speak-in’

“We need students to know that they can inform policy,” Bush said.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) held a listening session with several St. Louis high schoolers on Monday, during which the teenagers expressed concern about the rising violence in the city. 

The “youth speak-in” was held at Sumner High on March 14, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reports. During the hour-long session, Bush became visibly emotional as she engaged with a group of students on gun violence, racism, and social anxiety from living in fear. Several of the teens lost friends and family members to violent crimes. 

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“We lose people so much, it becomes normal,” said Seven Robinson, 17, of Vashon High, whose friend was recently killed, according to the report. “You become numb to pain.”

“I lost my friend a couple of weeks ago. He impacted my life. He was the first person that I called ‘big bro,’” Robinson said.

Tyania Daniels, 17, of Jennings High, noted the many children who have been struck by stray bullets. Kenneth White III, 18, of Cardinal Ritter College Prep, said the shootings and robberies are “getting worse,” causing many of his peers to constantly live in fear.

Bush vowed to provide resources and services to help teens suffering from trauma. The congresswoman also shared her journey from teenage trauma and PTSD through therapy, according to the report. 

“I am not going to push under the rug that you feel these things,” Bush told the students. “What we need from you is joy. You need to live life. You need to enjoy life. You deserve that.”

Following the event, Bush announced her new program,  “Congress In Your Classroom” that aims to broaden Monday’s “youth speak-in” via recurring meetings with two student representatives from any area high schools that want to participate. The program will also allow for a small group of students to suggest policy changes.

“I was fighting tears because it’s like this is what they are facing every day, and this is the work that we have to do to fix this problem,” Bush told 5 On Your Side after Monday’s event. 

“We need students to know that they can inform policy. They can make a difference now,” Bush said.

“We lose people so much, it becomes normal,” said Seven Robinson, 17, of Vashon High, whose friend was recently killed, according to the report. “You become numb to pain.”

“I lost my friend a couple of weeks ago. He impacted my life. He was the first person that I called ‘big bro,’” Robinson said.

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The post Rep. Cori Bush launches student initiative after emotional youth ‘speak-in’ appeared first on TheGrio.

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