DES MOINES, Iowa — The deaths of 16-year-old Rashad Carr and 18-year-old Gionni Dameron last week left an emotional scar across Des Moines. Community organizers are inspiring teenagers to unite and speak truthfully about their worries before another tragedy happens in the city.

A coalition of groups have scheduled a “youth town hall” on February 13 in response to Dameron and Carr’s deaths at the Starts Right Here education center.

RJ Miller of Greater Opportunities said the goal is to allow teens to have unfiltered conversations without adult interference.

“I think it’s very important to hear from our youth because a lot of people are in pain and have been in pain,” Miller said. “There have been so many youth deaths within the past three to four years, and a lot of our youth have PTSD and depression.”

Several of the organizations behind the town hall are barber shops, since the barber’s chair is known as a safe space for children and teenagers to express themselves in some communities.

“Every time the kids are being represented, they’re never present, so how do we speak for something that we have no knowledge of?” said Sam Clay of Imperial Kutts Barber Shop.

“You’re gonna learn everything from them. They’re the future,” said Teono Smith of Tru All American Barber Shop. “You’ve got to pay attention to them because if you don’t, tragic incidents happen all the time.”

Smith said he’s personally affected by Dameron and Carr’s deaths. He said he watched them both grow up and that he was about to become a guiding light for Dameron’s future.

“He was supposed to come to my apprenticeship program because he wanted to be a barber like his dad,” Smith recalled.

The leaders involved in the town hall hope teenagers bring the conversations they have in the barber’s chair to a collective audience to prevent any other violent teenage deaths in Des Moines.

“A person who feels like they have no one in their corner is a very dangerous person,” Miller said.

“There’s been tragic murders that have happened and there’s going to be more to come if we don’t tighten up and grab these kids,” Clay said.

“It’s just going to take time,” Smith added. “Keep the violence down because it’s becoming a normal thing around here.”

The youth town hall is scheduled for 7 p.m. on February 13. It will take place at the Masonic Lodge at 3843 6th Avenue in Des Moines.