(Albany, New York) On Saturday February 18th, Senator Shirley L. Huntley (D-Jamaica) had the opportunity to address and meet with youth who came to Albany to be part of the Annual Youth Summit at the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus. Close to 50% of the youth traveled from Queens, and the event has become increasingly popular over the years. Senator Huntley has made it a priority to attend this Summit and speak with youth on a myriad of issues such as education, bullying, and youth employment. “We must empower our youth and provide them with resources and confidence to fulfill their goals and achieve their dreams,” said Senator Huntley.
One of the key components of this year’s Youth Summit was a Forum regarding Cyber Bullying, Teen Suicide, and School Violence. The Forum was hosted by Assembly Members Vanessa L. Gibson (D-Bronx) and Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) and included speakers such as Senator Huntley, Patricia Dazell, Counselor, Brighter Choice Charter School, Guy Mitchell of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Brett A. Scudder, Founder and President of SISFI, and various panelists. Speakers discussed how cyber bullying can occur through social media outlets such as Facebook and Tumbler. The victims most of the time do not know the identity of the person(s) bullying them. They also spoke about the importance of tolerance and that bullying in any form should not be accepted nor condoned.
Senator Huntley spoke about the rash of teenagers committing suicide, and why it’s important to provide at - risk teenagers with guidance, counseling, and support. Senator Huntley discussed her bill S. 3015-B, which enables the Commissioner of Education to develop and make available resources and training programs for professional staff in public schools. The resources and training will assist and direct professional staff to identify persons contemplating suicide on how to understand and direct them to the available resources for help.
The Street Intervention and Stopping Violence; National, State, and Local Funding; Use of Celebrities and Centers; Gangs, Guns, and Gaining Employment program, better known as SNUG, was also a topic of discussion due to gun violence and youth often being the target group for these crimes. Removing illegal guns from our communities was of grave importance for not only the speakers, but for the youth in attendance as well youths in the various communities.