My brother was once kidnapped and our family threatened because he owed someone money. We had to give them everything of value in our house to get him back. Another time, a cousin answered his front door and was slashed in the face by a machete. Our communities pay a terrible price for our culture of violence. The violence used to silence me, but thanks to the PLC, I have a voice. Now I let other people know that whatever their situation, they’re not alone. I get to be around other teens that have experienced the kinds of circumstances I’ve grown up around. Together we’re becoming leaders and spreading the knowledge. Many young people fall into committing gun violence because of peer pressure, problems with their family or they’re bullied, have nowhere else to turn and think gangs and guns will protect them. There really aren’t many places to safely hang out in our neighborhoods. But finding the right group can be a savior. Seek out the people who will support you with trust and positive encouragement. If you do, then like us in the Peer Leadership Committee, you may learn to fight with words instead of violence.