By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The first North Tulsa Unified Pride Youth Conference was Thursday at the Fulton Teaching and Learning Academy.
About 150 students from several schools participated in the discussions about pride, self love, career potential and putting an end to community violence.
"You have to think, you have to educate, you have to intrigue," said Pastor Mike Hill, keynote speaker. "You've got to create, you have to be inspired. Because if you don't get inspired, then nothing we do here is going to matter."
The youth conference is a way to get kids to take ownership of their lives, to become empowered to make a positive change.
"I want to see you do well," said Officer Marvin Blades with the Tulsa Police Department. "I know that there is the potential and the possibility that you can, but you gotta allow yourself to do so, young people."
"Over the years, we've had way too many unfortunate incidents where young people have not been able to reach their full potential," said Ebony Johnson, Academy Central principal.
Fed up with negative events in north Tulsa's neighborhoods, Johnson was inspired to ask why. So she put together the conference for select students from schools like Gilcrease, McLain, Central and Booker T. Washington.
"It's an opportunity for them to say 'enough is enough and we want more for our lives and we need people to help us get there,'" Johnson said. "So many of them have been affected by crime and they have been affected by violence."
The students took away meaningful messages.
"Surround yourself with the right people, and everything will play out the way it's supposed to," student Demarco Cobbs said.
Thursday was proclaimed Unified Pride Day by Mayor Kathy Taylor. Organizers say they hope to make the conference an annual event.