McLean County youth speak out about recent spike in violence

Local News
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They may be young, but the voices of our youth are powerful. 

Teens in Bloomington Normal have a lot to say about the recent violence taking place in their hometown. 

WMBD traveled to YouthBuild Friday, a certified education program for at risk teens. 

After speaking with them, they say it’s a scary feeling seeing this violence and they hope change is on the way. 

Positivity is powerful. 

“If you put your mind to it, you can do it,” says Iyah Andrews.  

“It really helped me realize how much I need certain things to be successful,” says Mason Carter.  

“It’s helped me be more motivated and more positive instead of being out on the streets and doing what everybody else is doing,” says Billy Stone. 

For these teens along with everyone else in the area, they’ve seen a recent spike in violence in their town. 

“It made me think like, it’s crazy because like, I’ve been living down here my whole entire life and Bloomington to me, never ever ever got like this,” says Andrews. 

“It made me really scared at that point because I didn’t know if we were gonna be safe or if my family was going to be safe or if they were going to come attack us or not,” says Stone.  

Some even personally relating to the causalities. 

“Some of the people getting hurt, I know [them] so, it definitely gets to me,” says Carter.  

They may be teenagers, but even the youngest voices sometimes have the most influential messages. 

“I just feel like people need to change their ways, their actions, and what they are doing,” says Andrews. “Like, take things in a different way.” 

It may be vision boards today, but it’s a whole new world that youth can help build for tomorrow. 

“I wish it would go back to how it used to be because it was peaceful,” says Andrews. 

Our news partners, WJBC says Bloomington police are continuing to conduct a “very active” investigation into finding out who killed the three men on Monday and seriously injured Neako, a young boy left without a father. 

He’s now paralyzed. 

Family members say 4-year-old Neako Pena was shot alongside his father Nate and two others on Monday. 

Neako was hit in the chest and taken in critical condition to a Peoria Hospital. 

While he survived, the Go-Fund-Me page says Neako is now paralyzed from the waist down. 

The account has been set up to raise money for his medical bills and long-term care. 

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