WMATA hosted Youth Empowerment Summit

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Metro hosted several dozen teens for a day-long summit Saturday called the Youth Empowerment Summit.

“It’s an opportunity to empower youth in our region to make a positive difference when it comes to how they interact in the transit setting,” said Metro’s Director of Marketing Jo Greene.

Organizers were hoping to figure out ways to curtail violence committed by and among teens on the Metro. Recent high-profile examples include the murders of two teens, several weeks apart, at the Deanwood Station.

“It’s been in the works, but I tell you, there’s been a sense of urgency, given the incidents at Deanwood, we did a sense of soul-searching because we really want to know what’s happening in the greater community that’s leading to the incidents of violence and particularly when it happens on a transit center,” said Greene.

The popular opinion at that summit was that the violence stemmed from arguments that started in the neighborhood or on social media that happen to come to a head at Metro stations.

“Like hood beef or kids in school or, basically, it’s outside drama transferred to the station,” said Kennedy, 16, one of the summit attendees.

As for a solution, some mentioned wanting to see more transit police or other Metro officials, but others talked about the need for teens themselves to step up and keep the peace.

“Because we can relate to each other more. Coming from an adult it’s just talk, like chatter, like talk. So I think definitely kids need to help,” said Kennedy.

Greene hopes to harness the power of teens like Kennedy.

“To really effectively communicate a message of please don’t confuse our seats for the streets.”