Nina Martinez walks the Everett street where an innocent boy was gunned down just two weeks ago, another victim of gang violence
"Children should not be killing children," she said. "Any youth being killed is not right, and as a community, we need to come together."
Police say 14-year-old David Sandoval was mistaken for a rival gang member when he was shot and killed by a 13-year-old who got the gun from a 12-year-old.
"It's outrageous. This child who was killed was a promising leader. He did not deserve to die," said Martinez.
There have been at least 56 gang-related shootings in Snohomish County over the past two years, alone -- among them, an innocent brother and sister who were just walking home from school. The two were apparently wearing the colors of a rival gang, unbeknownst to them.
"No one is untouched," said Martinez. "It's your problem. It's my problem. We need to stop thinking it's just a certain culture or community. That's not the reality."
Martinez chairs the Latino Civic Alliance.
She's now launching a youth violence task force to look at the gang issue statewide. Among its most pressing issues: the active recruitment of children in our parks and schools.
The task force will enlist police, politicians, teachers and health care workers from all over Washington to find solutions.
It will also seek more consistent funding for programs that keep kids out of trouble, including a soccer camp run by Everett police and a "Passport to Manhood" program that operates in Everett middle schools.
The task force will partner with community leaders in Everett, Burien, Monroe, Federal Way, Yakima, Moses Lake and Quincy.
With so many innocent lives being lost, Martinez, herself a mother of two, believes the stakes are too high to do nothing.
"It shouldn't be that kids can't walk down the street without fearing they're gonna be killed. It's not right. It's our problem to fix."
For more information contact the Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org.