On Sunday, March 25th, four members of YO S.O.S. attended the “Civic Salon” event at the Public Theater in Manhattan. The event focused on youth action and responses to gun violence. The afternoon included musical performances, spoken word poetry, readings from historic leaders, and two keynote speeches by youth leaders. The final keynote was delivered by Aaliyha Johnson, a 15 year old member of YO S.O.S. In Aaliyha’s speech, she spoke about the ways that gun violence impacted her own life and called for social and political change including more alternatives to incarceration programs, teachers who truly value and listen to their students, and community support for youth leadership and young people raising their voices for social change. Other youth organizers at the event passed out palm cards to the audience with recommendations for ways to get involved and make a difference in the community.

To watch Aaliyha’s full speech, visit Facebook.com/yosos.