Log in


Join us in becoming an UPstander to youth violence 


When I heard a teenager had been beaten to death my brain simply did not compute. BEATEN TO DEATH IN QUEEN CREEK? As a mother of teenagers myself, the Halloween weekend brought its own anxiety. As I have continued to process what transpired just a few miles from our home, it still seems unreal. 

It would be easy to stand in denial and say “Oh, that is so sad ... thoughts and prayers.” It has never been in my blood to stand by when I see situations of injustice. 

There is an old African proverb that says “A child that is not welcomed by the village will burn it down to feel its’ warmth.” We are on fire, folks. 

As a mother, a parent, and a community member who advocates for youth for a living, I have taken a deep dive into this issue, and here is what I would like you to know. 

All behavior is communication. The groups of boys (and possibly girls) that are operating in Gilbert are signaling in the most destructive of ways that they need help. It is easy to see how blaming their parents would be satisfying. Certainly something is missing in their lives. 

Our community needs you and me. Our community must come together to restore safety and order so that our youth can feel safe as they go eat a cheeseburger at In and Out Burger, walk around the mall and hang out at a bonfire like we used to in the good old days. 

Kids need to be seen, heard and loved. When they are, needs are met, and they don’t have to find other ways to meet those needs through substances, video games, social media, violence or other means. 

What I know to be true is there are groups of moms and dads who are deeply invested in getting to the root cause of this violence and eradicating it, and I hope that you will actively join us as we work with town officials, law enforcement, faith and business leaders as we launch the UPstander campaign. 

Being an UPstander is far better than being a bystander. In the coming weeks we will launch this campaign and invite you to be an active participant with your family.  

Gilbert is a safe place to live and raise children. Let’s keep it that way. 

Katey McPherson is a community organizer and a partner to Preston Lord’s family.