Attorney General Eric Holder today recognized six cities for their progress in preventing youth violence at the second annual summit of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention held in Washington, D.C. The Attorney General was joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director R. Gil Kerlikowske at the two-day summit.
In his remarks before summit participants today, the Attorney General announced preliminary plans to expand the forum to four additional cities through a competitive application process. The Attorney General also announced the launch of an online toolkit that will be available to the public and will provide resources on how to gather and use data on youth violence, identify community assets, develop measurable objectives and create and implement plans.
"Our goal is to expand the national conversation about youth violence and its impact on our homes and communities," said Attorney General Holder. "The department is committed to working with our partners to create and sustain strategies to prevent this violence and keep our youth and communities safe."
Launched in 2010 at the direction of President Obama, the forum is a network of communities and federal agencies working together to share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. Participating cities include Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Tenn., Salinas, Calif., and San Jose, Calif. An interim independent assessment of the forum's work in the six participating cities, conducted by John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Temple University's Department of Criminal Justice recently, indicated promising results and progress to date.
On the first day of the two-day summit, mayors from the six cities presented their successes and challenges in addressing youth violence in their communities. Thirteen youth from various cities also led discussions and provided recommendations on how to prevent youth violence in their communities and Grammy-nominated hip hop artist Lecrae Moore shared his experiences with violence and gave a special performance. Tomorrow, representatives from the Department of Labor will announce jobs available for youth in the forum's cities as part of the administration's Summer Jobs+ initiative to support joint interagency youth violence prevention efforts.
Other forum speakers included Congressman Robert C. Scott, forum Mayors Dennis Donohue (Salinas), Rahm Emanuel (Chicago), Chuck Reed (San Jose), A C Wharton (Memphis) as well as Mayors Michael Nutter (Philadelphia) and Antonio Villaraigosa (Los Angeles), and representatives from Target Corporation, Casey Family Programs, and other business, faith and philanthropic leaders.
On Wednesday, April 4, 2012, following the forum, the White House will recognize 12 forum representatives as "Champions of Change" at a special awards ceremony to be held at the White House. The 12 will be honored as local leaders who have made a difference in their communities through their youth violence prevention efforts.
The Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Labor and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy are the forum's federal partners. Participating cities are selected based on need, geographic diversity and willingness and capacity to undertake comprehensive efforts that are the hallmark of the forum. More details about the forum's goals and city plans, the toolkit and the assessment are available at: www.findyouthinfo.gov.