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Organizers gather at Seattle's Alki Beach to call for an end to youth gun violence

The event comes just days after a 22-year-old man was shot and killed in a dispute over fireworks at the park.

SEATTLE — One of Seattle's most popular beaches is closing early through the holiday weekend.  The move comes just days after a 22-year old man was killed in a fight over fireworks. 

Saturday several non-profit groups gathered to push for an end to gun violence. 

The event was planned by Progress Pushers, YMCA’s Alive and Free Outreach Program, Southwest Youth Family Services, and other groups that work with local youth.

The organization had already been planning the event before Monday's shooting. Organizers say they've noticed rising tension among young people, and believe it's a symptom of a bigger issue. 

Aaron Knox says many young people feel like nobody’s connecting with them. 

“A lot of kids feel like they don't have those resources and that's why they're choosing violence and when they choose violence that's the loudest cry you're going to hear,” Knox said.

Perhaps nobody at the event has worked with more of those young people than Eugene Youngblood. 

“We just want them to know that they have different options you would be surprised at how well people do when they believe somebody else believes in them,” Youngblood said.

Youngblood was recently released after 30 years in prison. He was convicted as part of a murder case in 1991. 

For years he focused on mentoring behind bars and believes organizations working with youth need more support to help young people feel valued. 

“I would sit here and tell you that I didn't change, I just healed and part of my healing came from I realized people cared about me,” Youngblood said.

“I think it boils down to role models;  think it boils down to jobs; I think it boils down to individuals from the community who are empowering them,” Eddie Purpose said. 

Purpose dedicates much of his time working with incarcerated youth and would like to see more resources to help grassroots organizations make a difference at the street level.

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