FLINT, MI — Flint-area teens were chosen to participate in a nationwide gun violence project spearheaded by TheTrace.org, a news website focused on gun violence in the US.

The project, “Since Parkland” features obituaries of young people who have been killed in gun-related incidents since the Feb. 14, 2018 Parkland, Fla. shooting where students were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The incident caused a national outcry for gun violence awareness and led to walkouts in schools across the nation.

Five Flint-area students worked with News Movement, a youth journalism program housed at Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village on Flint’s north side, along with nearly 200 other teenagers across the nation to help complete the year-long project.

“It felt sad at parts, but you also can connect with their stories,” said News Movement student and participant Destiny Jones. “You feel sad for the families, but you also feel like you are honoring them. It made me feel like I was doing something good.”

Destiny, 15,  lives on Flint’s north side where she has witnessed gun violence first hand. On January 1, 2018, 10-year-old Jacques Allen was killed during a drive-by shooting while at home with his grandmother just a few houses away from her own.

“It made me kind of scared to be outside,” said Destiny who also attends Powers Catholic High School. “It made me reluctant. I stay to myself for the most part and choose who I become friends with wisely.”

According to data from The Trace, an estimated 1,200 young people died from gun-related incidents since the Parkland shooting.

“Over the summer, more than 200 teen reporters from across the country began working together to document the children, ages zero to 18, killed in shootings during one year in America,” wrote The Trace team about the project. “The stories they collected go back to last February 14, the day of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, when at least three other kids were fatally shot in incidents that largely escaped notice.”

In Flint, Gunfire is Killing Kids at a Devastating Rate

The data collected for the project includes youth who died in school shootings, domestic violence incidents, drug homicides, unintentional discharges, and stray bullets. It does not include people killed while injuring someone else, police-involved shootings and suicides.

Flint-area student participants:

Yasmeen Franks, 16 of Grand Blanc High School
Earl Hall, 15 of Genesee Early College
Joshua Johnson, 15 of Carman Ainsworth High School
Destiny Jones, 15 of Powers Catholic High School
Keishuan Wade, 18 of Flint Southwestern High School

About News Movement

News Movement is a youth journalism program developed by Brown Impact Media Group, the parent company of Flint’s news website FlintBeat.com. The program, housed at Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, teaches youth in grades six through 12 various journalism skills including news writing, photography, videography, and graphic design. It kicked off July 2018 with a $75,000 grant from the Ruth Mott Foundation.

For more information about News Movement contact program coordinator Jiquanda Johnson at (810) 447-0676 or email her at jiquanda@brownimpact.com.