Atlanta city councilman Antonio Lewis said he plans to introduce legislation next week mandating a 9 p.m. curfew for people under the age of 16.
Lewis made the remarks during a memorial remembrance for slain teenager Bre’Asia Powell, a sophomore at Atlanta’s Benjamin E. Mays High School. Powell was shot during a graduation party outside the school early Sunday morning. The shooters are still at large.
The community gathered to remember Powell and release balloons in her honor at the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center just a few miles north of Mays. Hundreds of people came out to show their respects for the 16-year-old, who went by “Bre.”
“Bre’s got so much love, just look around,” said Lewis. “It’s a horrible feeling for me. My anger has to be (put toward) justice.”
Lewis said he’s a gun owner, but supports stricter regulations around firearms.
The councilman said he hopes young people will take advantage of summer programs the city has to offer this summer— including a summer youth employment program and free summer camps — to stay busy. He said young people who aren’t working past 9 p.m. should be at home.
“We’ve got to figure out a new way,” he said. “This generation, they’re taking our little girls.”
Lewis said he’s teaming up with fellow councilmember Keisha Sean Waites to work on the ordinance, which will be presented to the body Monday. Waites proposed a similar curfew late last year after the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old boy near Atlantic Station.
Ayanah Morris, a friend of Powell’s, said the city would need to enforce the curfew for young people to take it seriously.
“I feel like if a curfew is set in place, it would still have to be very hard pushed, because ... a curfew was set before and it didn’t really make a difference,” she said. “So, if it’s really like used right, I feel like it would be a good thing to have.”
Others at the balloon release couldn’t believe their friend and classmate was gone.
“She was a joyful person,” said rising senior Tyshun Fields. “She’d never been into gang activity. She’d never been a violent person. For something like this to happen is real sad.”
“It’s really unexplainable,” said classmate Deaija Dean. “It was so unexpected.”
The family will hold a public viewing from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the Alfonso Dawson Mortuary Chapel at 3000 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SW. A celebration of life will be held Saturday at noon at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church at 534 Fairburn Rd. NW.