I am excited to announce that next week, several senior White House officials including Valerie Jarrett, Joshua DuBois and I will be joining other federal, state and local policymakers, advocates and community leaders at the Second Annual National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence. Valerie and I participated in this dynamic Summit last year, and I can’t wait to learn more about all the progress that has been made. I know the six cities involved in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention have made great strides on their comprehensive plans to reduce youth violence in their communities, and we can all learn from the successes and the challenges they have to share.
I am thrilled that the issue of youth violence prevention will receive the attention it deserves from federal and local officials who are working hard each day to make our communities safer. At the Summit, we will hear from Cabinet officials including Attorney General Holder, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. We will also hear from Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia, Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, and the Mayors of the six cities currently participating in the Forum: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, and San Jose.
The issue of youth violence prevention is important our nation and it has been an honor to work with folks at the Federal and local levels. I look forward to hearing from a diverse set of committed stakeholders on how we can continue to amplify the national conversation around youth violence by bringing cities together and creating long term plans to address this problem. Additionally, we’re excited to have representatives from communities across the U.S. join us and hear about opportunities to get involved with the Forum. In 2012, the Forum will expand its reach through inviting new cities into the network, continuing to provide technical assistance, and rolling out a brand new online toolkit for any city confronted by youth violence.
Youth violence is not inevitable, but in order to make communities safe for all of our young people, everyone must be at the table. Initial findings from what will be an ongoing assessment of the Forum are promising, showing increased levels of collaboration and enthusiasm in the six cities. Next week’s Summit is exciting because it will convene Federal officials, mayors, law enforcement, leaders of the faith community, school officials; youth outreach organizations, and youth themselves as active participants in this important dialogue. By coming together and speaking out, we will send a message to communities and young people across the country that you are not alone, and we are in this together. I can’t imagine a better way to start the week.