Benton Harbor teens share their stories on gun violence at summit

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 11:19 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - Benton Harbor teens opened up about their experiences with gun violence.

People gathered at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Southwest Michigan for a teen summit Monday night.

Pastor Taurus Montgomery was the keynote speaker, followed by a discussion panel with city leaders, like Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad.

City leaders said they want to make sure youth feel heard.

“Kids want their community to be a safer place. So, we are just going to have to talk about, how do we help kids have the courage to say something when they see something?” said Montgomery.

Damari Crayton said he experienced gun violence firsthand.

“Trying to go to practice. Almost got hit in the ear...The person that shot at me had let out five shots. It was close. I am lucky I didn’t get grazed,” said Crayton.

He said he is still healing from the emotional pain it caused.

“Every time I hear about gun violence, I think about the time when I got shot at...People talk about how they’re going to grab guns. They’ve never felt the trauma or been in a situation when a gun was pointed at them before,” said Crayton.

The key takeaway message from the night:

“I’m going to be the change I want to see in my community. I’m going to tell the truth. I’m going to do the right thing. I’m going to resolve conflict the right way. If we don’t take it personal, then we find ourselves in an unending situation of community violence,” said Montgomery.