Family and friends of Matthew Steffy-Ross, one of the teens killed during the tragic Airbnb mass shooting, helped organize Friday’s Teen Public Safety and Violence Summit.
More than 100 teens gathered to talk about how gun violence in Pittsburgh affected them.
Guests in attendance said the event was about making sure more lives are not taken.
“Matthew was God’s sunbeam in this world, he lit up the life of every single person that knew him,” said Bonnie McLain, Steffy-Ross’ great aunt.
On April 17, Matthew Steffy-Ross and Jayden Brown were killed and dozens were injured during a mass shooting at a teen Airbnb party on the city’s North Side.
“There should be justice, people need to be held accountable … over 100 shell casings, multiple shooters,” said McLain.
McLain said Matthew and other teens who have lost their lives to gun violence all deserve justice.
“I want justice and answers for every single child, I don’t care if it was five years ago,” said McLain.
She added that all teens deserve brighter futures — one where they can learn, grow and celebrate without fear.
“Teenagers go to parties,” said McLain.
That is why she along with some of Matthew’s friends, wanted to help host Friday’s summit.
“I lost my friend, my brother, Matthew Steffy-Ross. I have lost so many people close to me,” said Kwahyum Wiliams, Matthew’s best friend.
A recent graduate of Woodland Hills, 19-year-old Wiliams said gun violence has reshaped his outlook on life. He now uses his free time to fight gun violence.
“I know the type of bond me and Matt had, he wouldn’t want me to sit down and cry 24/7, he would want me to get up,” said Wiliams.
Wiliams said he finished school strong with a 3.6 GPA for his friends like Matthew, who didn’t get to walk across the stage, and will continue to push for kids who may not see a way.
“If we all come together and unite, you can’t stop the unity — and the more people that want to do it, the bigger change we ... get,” said Wiliams.
Friday’s event was hosted by the Youth Enrichment Services program, an organization that provides vulnerable teens with mentorship and educational services.
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