LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- This weekend, a group of young people who are sick and tired of the violence in Louisville will gather online to find ways to make it stop.
It's all part of the city's first 502CON event, and as the event's new hashtag states, #ItStartsWithUs.
Jailen Leavell and Ahmaad Edmund both attended separate colleges out state, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced them both to return to Louisville in March Now they're facing a different kind of pandemic: one of violence and bloodshed in the community they call home.
"You never know when something will happen," said Edmund, a student at Hampton University. "You never know when you'll get that text that your friend has been gunned down or that phone call that your cousin or family member has been impacted by this."
"Absolutely," Leavell said. "That's something that we noticed when we came home, " said Leavell , a rising senior from Tennessee State University. "We were like, 'Okay, as youth in the city, how can we pivot from this?'" Leavell said. "How do we create a platform where youth still engage? And really, that's through 502CON."
The virtual youth violence prevention conference takes place on Saturday, May 23, beginning at 2 p.m.
It's billed as an honest conversation about what's going wrong, and what kind of solutions can be found. The conference is aimed at anyone of ages 13 to 30, and it's all free.
"We have people from the state side, local officials, education and some great young people as well," said Edmund. "We just want to have a real conversation. How do we rise above the violence that we see?"
According to the Louisville Metro Police Department, nine juveniles have been shot and five killed in the past two months. Police say the city has seen a 24 percent increase in violent crime with the pandemic.
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