DALLAS – This week, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson hosted nearly three hundred elementary and middle school students at her annual Youth Crime and Prevention Summit. The summit featured speakers from the Dallas Police department, community activists, and representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers.
“A successful life will require that you do well in school; that you follow the rules of our society, and that you obey the law” Congresswoman Johnson told the young people who gathered at the Dallas Youth World Center, a faith-based, non-profit organization that acts as an after school home for young people in Dallas. “There are times when you must study and not play. You must commit time to your school work to reach all the goals that you have set for yourselves.”
“We believe in feeding the minds and the hearts of young people,” said Darla Shirley, the pastor who oversees Youth World. “We have been in the community for more than 30 years, and we intend to remain here as long as there is a young person that needs our assistance.”
Dallas Police Chief David Brown implored the young people to be good citizens, telling them that the police officers were their allies. “Young people are our future,” Chief Brown said. “We must do all that we can to assist them and keep them on the right path.”
Dallas Community activists Anton Lucky and Reverend Omar Jahwar, the founder of Vision Regeneration, a well-known youth intervention group in Dallas were joined on a panel by Albert C. Zapanta from the North Texas Crime Commission and Eric Pedersen, from the Corps of Engineers. Each of the panelists spoke to the young people about alternatives to getting into trouble on the streets this summer.
“You must decide, today, that you want to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem,” Reverend Jahwar told the young people. “Each of you has a promising future, and you must make the best of it.”