In Atlanta on any day of the week you can find children and teenagers selling water on various intersections throughout the city.
According to an Atlanta Police report street sales are the cause of hundreds of calls ranging from disorderly conduct, fights, aggressive behavior, arrests, and in some cases, an shooting. Meka Pless’s son, Jalanni, was fatally shot while selling bottles according to 11 Alive.
The teen’s family believes the shooting was over a $10 bill, something that could have been resolved.
“He was hardworking. He had recently just graduated from Douglas High School in 2019,” Pless said. “I think about my baby and how he’s not here. Why was he so angry that he had to take his life?”
The Atlanta City Council has unanimously passed a plan to launch a water distribution program that would actually employ the teens.
As of now, anyone selling within the city limits needs a vendors’ license to sell anything.
Some community leaders have been stepping up to take a hands-on approach to help the kids and teens. “How can we generate revenue in this city to address the systemic issues that have gone unaddressed for decades?” Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown told the news outlet. Pless says the children need more after-school programs in the city, and that if they decide to sell water bottles, she said there needs be some polices put in place.
“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else’s child,” she said. “Because a child’s life is the most valuable thing in the world.”