Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges participated in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention in Washington, D.C.
The mayor said her participation was a part of her ongoing efforts to improve outcomes for young people of color, what she called a critical piece of her initiative to foster inclusive growth. Since 2012, Minneapolis has been a federally-designated National Forum city. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Education Secretary Arne Duncan were also in attendance.
The mayor spoke on a panel about the challenges and strategies leaders face when prioritizing youth violence prevention efforts in their cities. She addressed the need to get in front of problems before they happen and gain support from sectors across the community.
“In Minneapolis, we know that youth ages 18-24 are at significantly increased risk for firearm-related assault injuries,” said Hodges. “We’ve seen a reduction in incidents but it is critical that we continue to invest in prevention and intervention practices to ensure we keep moving in the right direction. If we don’t direct youth away from violence toward vitality, our vitality and growth as a whole is impacted.”
During the conference Hodges discussed efforts her administration has undertaken including a youth violence prevention initiative, President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper, Cities United – a national collective of cities committed to reducing violence and violent deaths among young African-American men, Promise Zone, and juvenile justice reform.
Hodges was joined on the panel by mayors from Camden, NJ, Oakland, and Salinas, Calif.
In April, Hodges worked with mayors from across the country to reduce violence and violent deaths among young African-American men at the Cities United in Philadelphia. Also in April, the Obama administration announced that Minneapolis was awarded a Promise Zone designation. The designation, which aims to revitalize high-poverty communities across the country, will have a focus on youth violence prevention and intervention practices