March 19, 2013

Young people from all over Multnomah County turned the tables on community leaders Saturday, asking for commitments on violence prevention. The Rob Ingram Youth Summit Against Violence gave students a chance to talk about what they think would be most effective.

Pearla Alvarez attends Catlin Gabel school on Portland's west side, but she says she decided to get involved because she didn't feel safe in her East County neighborhood. "I have to watch that no one's following me." Alvarez says. "And I see a lot of gang members in the park next to my house."

Alvarez was in a work group that convinced officials to commit to letting more female students know they can get personal defense classes at school. Mariam Ngoye-Dogo from David Douglas High was in a group discussing the relevance of anti-violence programs to immigrant families. "The definition of violence for Africans and Americans is very different. There's a culture clash there."

The Summit is named after Rob Ingram, a city outreach worker who dedicated his professional life to helping young people avoid gang violence. He died of natural causes in 2011.