An Obama Administration initiative launched in October to prevent youth violence is continuing the work for which it was started. This week in Washington, D.C., leaders from six cities met to discuss their plans to curb the epidemic facing each of their communities.
The teams were composed of mayors, U.S. attorneys, and other community leaders from Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Memphis, TN; Salinas, CA; and San Jose, CA. They met in the nation’s capital to attend and present plans at the Summit on Preventing Youth Violence.
This is the second time the group has convened since President Obama announced the start of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention in October 2010. The forum began as a way to use strategic partnerships, realistic approaches, and factual data to address youth violence. The six cities were chosen based on factors that included geographic diversity, capacity to participate, and willingness to develop solid plans to address problems.
While in the group met in Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was their featured speaker. He spoke in favor of the initiative to curb youth violence, the conference, and the work that each of the teams put into their local plans.
“Addressing childhood exposure to violence – and implementing bold, innovative and collaborative solutions – is a top priority for [the Obama] administration,” said Attorney General Holder.
“The great strength of this week’s forum lies in the broad scope of expertise and the multi-disciplinary partnerships that have been forged within the cities represented. The comprehensive plans put forward this week, as part of the administration’s National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, send a powerful message – that, in this country, we will not give up on our children,” he added.
As each team returns to their respective city, they will work closely with not only the U.S. Department of Justice, but the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The increased effort toward curbing youth violence has come at a very appropriate time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008 more than 656,000 youths ages 10-24 were treated in emergency departments for injuries they received from violence.
Violence, as the stakeholders see it, can take many forms and needs to be looked at with the realities of today. It can come from many sources, including gangs, teen dating, bullying, and drug activity, to name a few. Separate, but national, campaigns to stop bullying, for instance, have triggered open dialogue on the subject and increased focus from the White House.
The full text of Attorney General Holder’s speech to the Summit on Preventing Youth Violence is available online.