WEST HAVEN — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said public figures have a lot to learn from the thoughts of Connecticut youths, and she went back to high school Monday to hear their opinions about youth violence.
High school students from the New Haven area met on Monday morning at West Haven High School to tape a cable show focusing on youth violence. The show, “Teen Talk,” is one of the projects of the Anti-Crime Youth Council, a group founded by DeLauro in 1993.
After a brief reception with opening remarks by DeLauro, a group of about 20 panelists and audience members moved to a classroom for the taping. During the show, panels of student leaders of anti-violence organizations spoke about their groups. A question and answer session with the audience followed.
Four students joined DeLauro and Hamden police officer Sean Dolan on the panel. Students Against Violence Everywhere, Youth Speak, and Echoes from the Street were among the organizations that student panelists represented.
The students came from Waterford, Stratford, Manchester and other cities in the New Haven area to share their projects and ideas with the other panelists, the live audience, and the television audience.
“The idea is to get a voice of youth about what’s going on,” said Arthur Huguley, a senior at Manchester Academy and a reporter for the youth-centered newspaper Echoes from the Street. The newspaper receives contributions from students all over the Hartford area and is distributed throughout the city.
Juniors and seniors from high schools in the Third Congressional District comprise the Anti-Crime Youth Council. In its almost 10 years of existence, the Council has implemented a truancy court, created scholarships, and lobbied for anti-crime legislation in both Washington, D.C., and Hartford.
The Anti-Crime Youth Council films “Teen Talk” once a year. In the past, the show has dealt not only with outright violence, but also with sex and the relationship between music and violence.
In her welcome address, DeLauro stressed the importance of youth involvement.
“This is about you,” DeLauro said. “I can’t thank you enough for getting involved and for offering your insight and suggestions on how we can turn life around and make the community better for you and your peers.”
DeLauro also emphasized that the Anti-Crime Youth Council, and especially “Teen Talk,” are entirely student-driven efforts.
“I have been reinvigorated every single year because young people come and they have something to say — and I think that us public figures really need to listen,” she said.