By Holly Arsenault
This year, Seattle’s City Council approved an $8 million budget allocation for youth violence prevention. According to the City of Seattle’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative website, the effort will focus on helping about 800 young people who are “at highest risk of perpetuating violence or becoming victims.” You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t think committing resources to preventing youth violence in Seattle is a good idea. But with so much energy and resource going toward youth who are at-risk, it can be easy to forget that most of Seattle’s young people - even those living in communities with higher incidence of violence - are not violent. Chukundi Salisbury (aka DJ KUN LUV), the coordinator of the All City Teen Dance points out that there is a “largely silent majority of teens that are not engaged in criminal and gang activity.” He sees the All City Teen Dance as an opportunity to acknowledge that silent majority and reward them for making good choices. “Many of the resources in the community are going towards an acute minority of teens whose negative behavior impacts all,” he continues. “This is…an effort to engage this largely silent group in the concept of community accountability. If they are going to have a safe, peaceful summer…they need to be actively engaged in bringing that about.”
The second annual All City Teen Dance: Party for Peace will take place Tuesday, June 22nd at the Exhibition Hall at Seattle Center. The dance is just one of dozens of Community Created Events sponsored by Seattle Center every year. The Community Created Events program serves the public by partnering with non-profit, government, and community organizations to produce events that respond to community needs.
Any Seattle high schooler can attend for free, as long as they are sponsored by a school administrator or teacher or a community based organization where the student has completed a minimum of 10 hours of community service. Sponsorship forms will be available on the All City Teen Dance website (www.allcityteendance.com), as well as at community centers and area high schools. To get a ticket to the dance, a student need only fill out the form, get it signed by their sponsor, and turn it back in.
The event will be hosted by Eddie Francis and DJ Supa Sam of KUBE 93. Before they leave, each attendee will be asked to sign a Pledge For Peace form. Salisbury explains, “We are hoping that young people who are doing the right thing and making positive choices leave with sense of empowerment to stay on track and [a sense] that adults in community affirm their choices and are proud of them. We are also hoping that teens see that they have a role and responsibility in having a peaceful summer.”
For more information about the All City Teen Dance: Party for Peace, visit allcityteendance.com