Six Cities Participate in National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention

By Karpman, Michael | Nation's Cities Weekly, October 11, 2010 | Go to article overview

Six Cities Participate in National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention


Karpman, Michael, Nation's Cities Weekly


Last week, the White House, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education hosted the first working session of a new National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. The convening brought local leaders from six cities to Washington, D.C., to explore effective strategies for curbing youth and gang violence.

Through this pilot initiative, multiple federal agencies will work with city leaders in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, Calif., and San Jose, Calif., to support the implementation of comprehensive, citywide youth violence prevention plans. These plans will be presented at a Youth Violence Summit in Washington, D.C., next spring.

"Our effort to combat youth violence isn't about federally imposed fixes, it's about changing the way we do business on this critical public safety issue," said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who met with the forum on Tuesday, Oct. 5. "This administration will continue to do what it takes to reclaim our communities and our youth from crime and violence. The lives of our nation's children are at stake."

"We know that if children aren't safe, then they can't learn," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who met with the forum last Monday. "We all have a stake in public safety and a responsibility to keep our children out of harm's way."

The working session created an opportunity to share successful approaches underway as well as major challenges facing each city.

"This forum provides not only an occasion for the federal government to assist cities, but also a platform for the cities to learn from one another," said White House Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes.

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Forum Modeled on California Network

The forum is inspired in part by the work of the California Cities Gang Prevention Network, a 13-city initiative launched in 2007 by NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

The network seeks to reduce gang violence and victimization through cross-city peer learning, identify and implement best practices and initiate state and federal policy changes that support effective local strategies. Two of the six forum cities--Salinas and San Jose--also participate in the California network.

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