Powerful. Encouraging. Inspirational. Unity. Something I will never forget.

“We here at the March For Our Lives, because I’ve been affected by gun violence. I feel that all the people here are coming together for the right cause and I feel this is what we need to do more. I can’t wait to vote.” – WaSun Wilson, Youth Organizer with YO S.O.S.

More than twenty youth and staff from the Mediation Center joined up with over seventy-five fellow activists from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and the Gathering For Justice in Washington D.C. on Saturday at the March For Our Lives. For many it was their first trip to the capitol! Youth showed up at our office in Crown Heights at 5:00 am on Saturday morning and returned home at midnight.

“I felt like it was a really unique opportunity to get to come to D.C. I’ve never been to D.C. before and this is a central march, so if I want my voice to count then what better place to be than here with my peers and community that I worked with all of last year.” – Rebecca Rivera, YO S.O.S. alumni

The day inspired many deep and thoughtful conversations among our group about vulnerability, empathy, and different kinds of actions that are needed to end gun violence in all its forms. Growing out of ongoing conversations about the gun violence that affects their lives, YO S.O.S. organizers have developed some of their own recommendations for safer cities which you can read here.

“I was really inspired by the vulnerability of the speakers. I know what it is like to lose someone you love to gun violence and it is hard to talk to anyone, even one person about it. Listening to them talk about what they’ve been through in front of hundreds of thousands of people and how it is the same as me. . . I felt for the first time like I wasn’t alone in my grief.” – Edward Stutts, Youth Organizer with the Mediation Center

Thank you to all of our supporters and donors that made this trip and our programs possible. A special shoutout to New Yorkers Against Gun Violence for being true partners and making this endeavor a huge success

“Being here today makes me feel like we have hope, a hope in changing our society. It’s ridiculous that we have to walk our streets and be afraid of getting shot. We can’t walk on our own blocks and feel safe. We shouldn’t feel that way. If there’s a change in Congress, there will be a change in our society.” – Tashanna Davidson, Youth Organizer with YO S.O.S.

Here are some links to recent press coverage of YO S.O.S. in Chalkbeat, the French news outlet, La Croix, and a shoutout in Teen Vogue. You can see Youth Organizer Shavonne Jackson’s powerful sign highlighted by a photographer at the march here. A videographer from the NY Daily News accompanied our NYAGV partners on their bus and you can see that footage and some of our youth here!