Youth summit aims to address gun violence in Lima

By Craig Kelly -

LIMA — With more Lima young people involved in shootings in recent months, Vickie Shurelds maintains that it will take young people to curb this trend.

Shurelds held a news conference Monday to announce the creation of Ceasefire Lima, a summit for young people ages 16 to 24 that features discussion forums and opportunities for feedback concerning youth violence and ways in which that issue can be addressed. The forum will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 10 in Lima City Council chambers.

The idea is for the discussion to be youth-centered, with adults listening to what they have to say.

“As adults, we often think that we have the answers because we have the education, the experience and such,” she said. “But in this case, what we will do is handle the organizing, such as getting the room, calling someone up to bring pizza and stuff like that, and then we will take a step back and let the youth lead us into the direction we need to go.”

With recent shootings at the Lima Apartments and Meat City, young people in Lima have gained an intimate perspective on violence and its effects on the community, and that perspective is what Shurelds hopes to tap into to help law enforcement and city administration learn what is needed to combat this trend.

“They are looking at this through a lens of day-to-day activities, and they are seeing things that we don’t see,” she said. “So we have to allow them to lead us and tell us what’s really happening. A lot of times, they’re listening to what our solutions and actions are and thinking that we’re really missing the mark.”

Shurelds said she hopes to have 50 participants from throughout Lima and Allen County. There is no cost to attend, and anyone interested can register by emailing Shurelds also said that a website and Facebook page are in production.

By Craig Kelly

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.