Left to right: Josh Rush, Rudy Street, DJ Buck, and Ashley ComerFor the first time on Sunday, DJ Buck of Hot 93.7 FM took the radio program, “Urban Voices: Can you hear me?”, on the road to the legislative office building in Hartford where the community was asked to step up to the mic and voice their concerns and offer solutions to the youth violence that has plagued the Capitol city. New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, who is running against Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, in the Democratic primary Aug. 8 was the first to step up to the mic and explain what steps he’s taken in the Elm City to counter youth violence. He said this year he doubled the number of summer jobs the city was able to offer the youth. In addition, he said he decided to keep the schools in New Haven open during the evening so the kids had somewhere to go. But, he admitted, “we don’t always know what kids want,” which is why he came to listen to the youth on the panel. The youth on the panel have seen more their fair share of bloodshed and violence in the city’s streets, but said they were able to be stay away from it because someone believed in them.
“I think we should spend more time teaching these kids to be somebody and dream again,” Rudy Street, 17, said. Street aspires to go to college and get a job at Nanotech and cure diseases. Another teen, Ashley Comer said wants to be a crime scene investigator which has her friends making fun of her because she’s going to be a member of a police force. “I don’t care what they think,” she said. “I’m trying to tell my friends no matter what nobody says to you, you can do whatever you want to do,” Comer said. DJ Buck said the same people driving around listening to us are the ones with the guns under their seat. He said this is the loudest voice they’ll ever have. He said if this show saves one life then his work is done. Audience in attendance Sunday“I was one of these troubled kids too,” Kelly Kirkley-Bey, the daughter of state Rep. Marie Lopez Kirkley-Bey, said. Kirkley-Bey is now the first minority deputy chief of staff. DJ Buck asked how did you do it. She said I had a role model mother. She said “she never gave up on me, that’s how I got out of the hood.” More specifically, she said her mother forced her to get involved with her campaign for state office when she wanted to be out doing what she wanted to do. Merva Jackson, president of African-Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, said the community needs to get more politically involved and help their legislators bring money back to the community. At the same time, these same legislators need to start asking some “seriously hard questions” about how this money is being spent, she said. She said most of the money is being given to the same organizations over and over again with no accountability. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-California, who was in the state to campaign for U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont, said it’s difficult to get money for poor communities in Congress because there’s a right-wing conservative majority that fails to grasp the struggles of the community. She said when you explain the struggles of the community the right-wing conservative legislators tell you a story about how they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps 50 years ago. “They believe the only solution is “lockem up and throw away the key,” she said. Congresswoman Maxine WatersShe said we need the money in our communities to deal with these problems and set up programs to deal with some of these problems. “After-school programs are real,” she said. Click here to listen to the show, which is a collaboration between Hot 93.7 FM and WTIC radio.