“Kids are dying”: Community members discuss gun violence, black lives, and change

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Angela Lee of Topeka lost her son, Justice Mitchell, to gun violence three years ago. Mitchell was 18 years old when he was shot twice, before he died.

“A lot of people remember him for his smile,” Lee said. “It was because of his smile and his big heart to help others.”

On Saturday, donning a necklace with Mitchell’s picture, Lee stood in front of the Kansas State Capitol and told her story and the story of other families suffering just like she had.

“We shouldn’t have to have talks with our kids that are… people of color,” Lee said.

Topeka community members gathered at the Capitol on Saturday as part of the Make It Make Sense event. The participants stood in a circle, discussing and answering questions such as “How are you impacted by violence?”, “What does Black Lives Matter mean to you?” and “What are you willing to do to see change?”

“Everybody needs voice, and what’s happened is we haven’t given voice to our young people. We haven’t given voice to those that are afraid of it being loud, of those who are afraid of it being a big, massive show,” said organizer Regina Platt.

People of different walks of life stood in the circle, from educators to therapists to students even as young as middle school.

“It’s diverse. It’s not just one population of people, it’s what looks like Topeka,” Platt said.

The event was to bring together the people of Topeka and give a voice to every community member in discussing gun violence and how they can make a change in the community, Platt said.

“Kids are dying. They shouldn’t be dying,” Lee said.

This event is not just a singular experience, and Platt said she is currently looking to keep the conversation going by planning more events within the next two weeks.

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