CAMDEN - As part of an ongoing effort to stabilize Camden's neighborhoods through various anti-violence initiatives, Mayor Dana L. Redd and Senator Robert Menendez today applauded U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Mary Lou Leary's decision to expand the total number of cities included in the White House National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention to reduce youth violence and gang activity and improve public safety.
"I want to thank President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and Acting Assistant Attorney General Leary for selecting the City of Camden to be part of such a critical initiative that seeks to curb youth violence," Mayor Redd said. "Being a partner in this national forum coincides with the work being done by the City's Congress of Resident and Community Based Organizations. We are taking a holistic approach that involves engaging our residents to be part of creating a workable solution to quell violence in our neighborhoods."
"I am incredibly pleased that the administration has chosen Camden, through Mayor Redd's leadership, to participate in this initiative to address the violence that is stealing the futures of too many of our young people and destroying too many neighborhoods," Senator Menendez said. "We must address this crisis with a comprehensive approach that brings everyone to the table and holds everyone accountable."
The announcement by Attorney General Holder and Acting Assistant Attorney Leary expands the total number of cities involved in this national youth violence prevention forum to ten. Those cities include New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA; Minneapolis, MN; Camden, NJ; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Memphis, TN; Salinas, CA; and San Jose, CA.
Launched in 2010 at the direction of President Barack Obama, the forum is a network of communities and federal agencies that share information and support local efforts to prevent and reduce youth violence. The 10 cities will participate in a working session this fall and highlight their strategies to address youth violence at a national summit in Washington, D.C., next spring. The new cities were selected through a competitive application process.
The forum's federal partners include the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Labor; the Corporation for National and Community Service; and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Since the forum began, the cities have leveraged new partnerships with foundations and private corporations to prevent youth violence and have initiated a number of programs for youth and families in their communities. Earlier this year, Casey Family Programs sponsored activities for forum youth representatives at the national summit in Washington, D.C. Additionally, retail company Target awarded grants of $10,000 to the six forum sites to hire a youth director in each community.
For more information on the cities' plans and progress, please visit: www.findyouthinfo.gov/youthviolence.