PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Students are stepping up to the table in Pine Bluff to create change in their community.

The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission announced its first ever task force where students get involved in creating change in their community. 

The task force wants to focus on solutions and initiatives to address bullying, violence, and promoting youth leadership.

“You can say it all you want, but there is difference when you actually do something to make a change,” sophomore at Pine Bluff High School, Ray’lei Reed said.

After seeing violence in the streets and bullying in the hallways, Pine Bluff High School students, now speaking out and wanting to make change.

“It’s no secret at Pine Bluff High School we do have quite a bit of violence and it starts through social media, bullying attacks, gang violence anything under that nature,” senior at Pine Bluff High School, John Thompson said.

“With the fact that I’m in Pine Bluff, which is slowly but surely starting to become the most dangerous cities in Arkansas, I would like to see a drastic change,” Reed said.

Ray’lei Reed said she has had personal experience that is driving her passion to change the narrative.

“Desperation, especially when you know a person personally that has passed away to violence and gun violence itself, I have actually had an aunt pass away to violence,” Reed stated. “It’s really different when you have witnessed it yourself.”

Reed and many of her peers and staff at Pine Bluff High School partnered with the Arkansas Martin Luther King Commission to create solutions to the problems plaguing youth today.

They say the thing on the top of the list is social media.

“Often times that’s where these things start,” Thompson said.

“Give kids some tools for when these things happen, we are hoping this group can lead the charge in that,” Assistant Superientendant for Pine Bluff School District, Phillip Carlock stated.

“The number one thing that we can do is to moderate that through social media, students are the first ones to witness it,” Thompson stated.

Those solutions turning into ‘so much hope’, Thompson stated.

This taskforce will continue to meet as students feel the need to address certain topics going on in their school.
A lot of the students said it takes a village, and they are excited to have a village of students wanting to make a difference.