City Councilmember Keisha Waites continues push for an Atlanta youth curfew.

Atlanta City Councilmember Keisha Waites says she will continue to push for youth curfew legislation following the shooting death of a teenager outside a local high school. 

Waites first proposed the curfew after the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old near Atlantic Station last November. She renewed the call after a 13-year-old was shot to death near a skating rink in southwest Atlanta earlier this year.

The latest push comes after 16-year-old Bre’Asia Powell was gunned down outside Benjamin E. Mays High School over Memorial Day weekend.

“Every time one of our youths is murdered, I am contacted by residents asking about the curfew, and I regretfully explain the City Council has failed to act on the resolution to add a layer of protection for our children,” Waites said. “I will continue to push for the curfew legislation. I owe at least that much to the youth of Atlanta.” 

Waites said “personal politics” were getting in the way of saving children’s lives in Atlanta.

“There is no doubt that Bre’Asia Powell would be alive today if the curfew I proposed, and citizens have voiced support for had been in place and enforced. The list of murder victims under 18 who have been gunned down is growing while elected officials, motivated by petty politics, personal agendas, and misplaced loyalties, continue to ignore an obvious opportunity to take our children out of harm’s way and save lives.”

Waites said Mayor Andre Dickens’ lauded Midnight Basketball – a program designed to curb youth crime through organized sports – was not enough to help Bre’Asia, who worked as a greeter in the program.

“And yet she is dead, a victim of a senseless shooting that occurred at 2 a.m.,” Waites said. “No one can argue that this murder could have been avoided with an enforced curfew.

She said the curfew wouldn’t be a panacea, but called it a “sensible step toward reducing the number of murder victims in the City of Atlanta. ” 

Waites has proposed an 8 p.m. curfew for those under 18 with exceptions for work and other activities, but said she was open to a 10 p.m. curfew.

In February, the Fulton County Commission approved a new youth curfew for the unincorporated parts of the county in response to escalating violence. The curfew applies to those 16 and younger with the new hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.