Ever since Bowie State University freshman Alexis Simpson, 19, of District Heights was charged with fatally stabbing her roommate during an alleged dispute over an iPod last September, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said she has been unnerved.
She said it was that case, which is scheduled for trial Nov. 13, that drove her to create an event she hopes to hold annually to foster better self-esteem and anger management in the lives of girls and women.
The state’s attorney’s office will hold the Sisterhood Summit on Sept. 29 at Prince George’s Community College in Largo. It will feature guest speakers and organizations with backgrounds in conflict resolution.
“While [Simpson] is innocent until proven guilty, just the fact that a woman is dead and another college student is in prison is just disturbing to me,” Alsobrooks said. “Today, there is a lack of ability to connect on a very basic level. They don’t have human interaction and they’ve diminished human contact, and it’s affecting the ability to resolve conflict.”
According to crime statistics from the FBI, the number of assault cases among girl
ls in the United States rose 24 percent while the number among boys declined 4.1 percent from 1996 to 2005. According to a U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study in 2009, one in four teenage girls have participated in a violent crime within the past year.
Judge Glenda Hatchett, a juvenile court judge and star of the nationally syndicated television show “Judge Hatchett,” will deliver a keynote speech to the more than 300 teens ages 13-18 expected to attend. As of Sept. 18, 175 teens had registered for the 8 a.m.-to-3 p.m. summit.
Alsobrooks said that unlike other summits for teen growth and wellness, this event will include partnering organizations from around the county including Sisters for Sisters and Big Brothers Big Sisters National Capital Area. The event’s largest sponsor is United Way. All will encourage attendees to join their mentorship programs and work on improving their character and personality. Alsobrooks said her goal is to reduce violence among teenage girls and end the culture of disrespect and lack of emotional control.
“If we talk and go home, we fail,” Alsobrooks said. “This is more about following up with them. That’s the whole component for this.”