[Editor’s Note: In 2009, Wilson High School student Melody Ross was accidentally shot and killed by a 16-year old gang member during a homecoming dance. VoiceWaves interviewed young people on both sides of the story to better understand the ripple effects of violence in the community. Narong Ngeth was a close friend of the teen who was killed and Beth Dawson was a close friend of the teen who shot Melody. Both Narong and Beth are friends, but have never spoken to each other about the incident.]
Alyson Bryant was raised in Long Beach and is a graduate of Long Beach Poly High. Alyson has learned and seen a lot since high school, witnessing first-hand gang violence and the effects it had on her friends and fellow classmates– from going to jail to being killed. As a result, she has a strong passion for at-risk youth and her community. She is a youth mentor for at the California Conference for Equality and Justice and focuses her work on Long Beach youth in schools and detention centers. Since high school, she has obtained a A.S. degree in criminal justice and is now working on her B.A. With the opportunity she has be given by VoiceWaves, she is able to tell story about Long Beach and the issues it faces and speak for the communities whose voices are often marginalized.