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Students discuss how to stop the violence at Arkansas youth summit

Recent violence continues to impact so many people in Arkansas and the question that leaders keep asking is what they can do to stop it.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission hosted a nonviolence youth summit, a day where thousands of students from across Arkansas gathered to help in the effort to stopping violence.

So many families are, in some way, impacted by violence.

"If that was my like, my little brother or my little sister, and that would [have] happened to them, I will be ready to like to just collapse," said Brandon Livingston, a freshman student at Southwest High School.

Monday's nonviolence youth summit in Little Rock allowed Livingston to be apart of an effort for change.

"For us to get a chance to come out here, that's just a big blessing for us," Livingston said.

His teacher at Southwest High, Davidra Bowser, said she brought him and dozens of other students to sit, listen, and learn how to work through issues as teens.

"It's really important, so they can have another outlet to know that there are outlets for them other than to do violent or to have violent behavior that they can express themselves in other ways," said Bowser.

That behavior, DuShun Scarbrough with the MLK Commission, said is something he often deals with.

"There's been some other schools contacting the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission as of late like Lavaca School District, where there was an incident of some bullying with a young lady on the bus," Scarbrough said.

He is hoping to send a message that promotes nonviolence.

"I find it very pertinent to make sure that there's a presence within a community or a state agency," Scarbrough said.

He said the MLK Commission is doing that by visiting all congressional districts and hosting summits like this one.

Students attended breakout sessions to have a two-way dialogue with community members and actors like Pooch Hall, who said the pledge against violence helped him when he was younger.

"The bottom line is we have to come together to make sure that we can help whoever we can to get out of this thing alive," said Hall. 

There are more events tonight, including a youth speak out at 8:00 p.m. outside the Statehouse Convention Center.

There, children will also participate in a candlelight vigil to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who died on this day 54 years ago.

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