Young People Stand Together To Help Bring An End To Gun Violence

"I just want to spread awareness for my brother and make a stand towards gun violence. It's not only taking our native youth, but our youth in general," said Aaliyah Peterson, the sister of 16-year-old Joesph Peterson.

DULUTH, Minn. – Young Northland community members are spreading the message that they are no longer staying silent and are proudly saying no to gun violence.

The man charged in the shooting death of a 16-year-old on the Fond Du Lac Reservation back in December was in court on Thursday.

The real action happened outside the St. Louis County Courthouse, where a group of young people banded together to speak out about ending gun violence.

“I just want to spread awareness for my brother and make a stand towards gun violence. It’s not only taking our native youth, but our youth in general,” said Aaliyah Peterson, the sister of 16-year-old Joesph Peterson.

This moment of bonding was to honor Peterson who was fatally shot in December.

“Losing my grandson, it really hurts your heart and I can’t wish that on anybody, the pain that our family is feeling,” said Roxanne Peterson, the grandmother of the young man.

18-year-old Joseph Fohrenkam of Brevator Township is charged in the shooting death of Peterson.

Family members told Fox 21 Peterson and Fohrenkam were close.

“It hurt both of our families. Joseph Fohrenkam was one of our cousins. It was a really tragic event for both families. We are both hurting,” said Aaliyah Peterson.

Losing two people to different sides of gun violence became a strong motivator for this group of family and friends to speak up.

“We do have to save our youth. We do have to help our youth. We do have to help them feel safe, help them not feel hopeless,” said Roxanne Peterson.

Many believe there could be a big reason why there is such an increase in gun violence among young people.

“The thing nowadays is you want to fit in, so if more younger kids are doing better the younger ones before them will follow,” said Aaliyah Peterson

The hope is by sticking together this group can send a clear message to the youth to live a life of non-violence.

“I would like to see the young people make changes in their life and find their identity, where they come from, find out what their purpose is,” said Roxanne Peterson.

Fohrenkam has pleaded not guilty to fatally shooting Peterson.

Thursday’s court appearance was to discuss a possible plea agreement.

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