Activists joined Prince George’s County State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy as she announced the "Our Streets, Our Future" campaign — a task force targeting an end the rise in violence.
Parts of Prince George's County are experiencing a rise in violent crime. Communities like District Heights and Capitol Heights near the D.C. line are especially impacted with teenagers losing their lives to gun violence.
“Too many of our young people are seriously injured or had their lives cut short due to senseless gun violence,” Braveboy said.
Basketball hoops taken down at the beginning of the pandemic just returned to Prince George's County.
Larry White, 18, who grew up playing sports, missed this outlet but not just for the game.
“When you got some afterschool activities that you are involved in, then you don't have much time to do the wrong thing,” he said.
His community in the Capitol Heights-District Heights area has become a hotspot for violence, especially among teens.
“I've been experiencing it my whole life so it ain't really, it's like …” White said.
“The world just kind of stopped, and they were stuck in the house where they did not have the kind of freedom to be them,” said Anica O’Neil, regional manager of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Department of Parks and Recreation.
O'Neil is preparing to reopen the Oakcrest Community Center soon.
“When we're not able to do our part for the community, it really taps into all of us in a negative space,” O’Neil said. “It makes us feel like we’re not really able to do our part.”
White hopes everyone will do their part for the kids coming up behind him.
“They need more positive role models because we don't got a lot of positive role models growing up,” he said.
“I just know if you had some activities, kids will come up here and play,” he said. “If you have things, they'd come. Kids love to play.”
Prince George’s County is reopening its recreations centers in phases. Some are already up and running with more expected to open on Monday.
The Oakcrest Community Center is expected to open in June.