Roybal-Allard, Lucille



Washington, October 19, 1999 -

This week Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, joined with Democratic members of Congress to participate in the first ever "Voices Against Violence: A Congressional Teen Conference".  Kristie Hernandez of Garfield High School and Zaher Lopez of Huntington Park High School were nominated and sponsored by Rep. Roybal-Allard to come to Washington DC to join with hundreds of other teenagers from across the country for this historic event.

"Representing the youth of our district are Kristie Hernandez and Zaher Lopez who played an integral role at today’s event by sharing their experiences and ideas on the national debate of violence in our community," said Roybal-Allard.

Voices Against Violence was conceived in the wake of the several high profile school shootings in the last school year.  The primary objective of the summit is to involve today’s teens in the development of common-sense solutions to problems related to youth violence.  The conference brings teenagers to Washington DC to share their ideas with Federal legislators, Federal law enforcement officials, education officials and entertainment industry executives to address the problem of youth violence.

"Gun violence, unfortunately is something the residents of my district are very familiar with," said Roybal-Allard.  "Recently in Huntington Park, two young students fired guns at each other in front of City Hall wounding innocent bystanders; in Southgate, the city’s Mayor was shot in the head by two youth who attempted to rob him; additionally drive-by shootings and gang violence continue to terrorize residents throughout the southeast area of Los Angeles."

"I hope my Republican colleagues will listen to the young voices that have traveled to Washington DC and join with Democrats in support of reasonable gun control measures that protects our kids," said Roybal-Allard.  "Our goal is to make all communities safe again."

"I am glad to be here in Washington DC to share what I have experienced and learn what other students have gone through," said Kristie Hernandez of Garfield High School.  "I hope to contribute as much as I can as we band together to find solutions that will help our communities be safer."

"I believe that if we all work together towards a common goal, success is inevitable," said Zaher Lopez of Huntington Park High School.  "This week’s summit provides students from across the country with the information to take back home.  The responsibility is now ours to implement what we have learned."
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While in Washington, students heard from President Clinton and Members of Congress, participated in a state-of-the-art Web Broadcast Town-Hall Meeting on youth violence issues and shared their views and experiences in a series of group discussions.

In addition, the students joined with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for a press conference that highlighted the summit’s goals and the partnership between the students and their legislators.

At the close of the summit on Wednesday, students will report their findings to Members of Congress and develop a House Resolution expressing their suggestions.