"The way I see it, youth violence happens because
of the mentality and mind state of the people
involved. We first must change the culture of the
community to see substantial results."
This is just one of the insightful responses
DC youth generated when YPT went into neigborhoods this
summer asking the question, "Why does youth violence
As crime statistics were tallied this summer and
pundits and officials began a new round of dialogues on
how to prevent the violence that too often claims young
lives, YPT was on the ground in schools and community
centers talking to young people to get their
"What was most striking is how differently it's
perceived regionally," Producing Artistic Director David
Andrew Snider reports. "We'd have students in Southeast
telling us that there were no gangs in their
neighborhoods, only neighborhood beefing, and yet
students in Northwest were much more ready to identify
crime as gang-related."
Snider also says that age made a big difference in
students' perception of crime. "Younger kids, students
who are 11 or 12, seem to have more distance from the
violence, while older students were much more aware," he
The students' writing will be featured in
September's New Writers' Now!
performance Dying for
"Many of the students were inspired to write more
when they saw we took their writing so seriously,"
One young writer had particularly good advice
for avoiding violent situations:
"When you're angry you get old fast. Stay
nice, be nice."