The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention is a network of communities and federal agencies that work together, share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. Established at the direction of President Obama in 2010, the Forum brings together people from diverse professions and perspectives to learn from each other about the crisis of youth and gang violence in the U.S and to build comprehensive solutions on the local and national levels.
Participating Federal agencies include the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and the Office on National Drug Control Policy. The communities participating in the Forum include Boston, Camden, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Salinas, San Jose, Long Beach, Cleveland, Louisville, Seattle, and Baltimore.
Other participants include faith and community–based organizations, youth and family groups, and business and philanthropic leaders.
The Forum operates on three key principles:
Multidisciplinary partnerships are key to tackling this complex issue – police, educators, public health and other service providers, faith and community leaders, parents, and kids, must all be at the table.
Communities must balance and coordinate their prevention, intervention, enforcement and reentry strategies.
Data and evidence- driven strategies must inform efforts to reduce youth violence in our country. These three principles are critical to directing and leveraging limited resources in order to make a long standing impact.
The Forum has three goals:
Elevate youth and gang violence as an issue of national significance.
Enhance the capacity of participating localities, as well as others across the country, to more effectively prevent youth and gang violence.
Sustain progress and systems change through engagement, alignment, and assessment.
Our objective is to convene experts and practitioners who share a common goal of eliminating gang violence and other related forms of violence from their communities. Most major U.S. cities have a gang problem and L.A. is no exception. In fact, many scholars refer to L.A. as the modern day gang capital of the world. There are many reasons why that label exists, but it is in large part due to media coverage, pop culture and the migration of gangs from Los Angeles to other states across the Nation. However, our gang problem does not stop there.
Our domestic gang problem became an international issue in the 1980s when the United States began deported illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America back to their home countries for their involvement with L.A. street gangs. The U.S. essentially exported L.A. based street gangs throughout the Central American region which has lead to record number murder rates per capita ever year.
With that said, we set out on a mission to let the world know that there is in fact, a serious gang problem, but there are also many efforts across the U.S., throughout Central America and in other parts of the world that are dramatically reducing youth, gang and community violence.
There are many gang and community violence conferences held annually around the world. Unfortunately, most are catered to cops, which makes perfect sense for the law enforcement community, but does not do much for all of the practitioners who dedicate themselves to saving youth and communities from the cycle of violence.
In 2012, we began a journey of hosting an annual event that would bring practitioners from various related professions together to share their expertise on how best to address youth and gang violence. We have had many speakers, many panel discussions and thousands of attendees over the last five years. As our conference continues to gain momentum, our reach and impact have grown as well.
We will continue to provide the very best speakers and most qualified experts in the field to present at our conference. These high impact subject matter experts come from various universities and organizations from around the world, with evidence-based, proven models that they are eager to share with our attendees.
Thank you for considering our event. You will not be disappointed if you decide to participate and attend. Our co-founder Dr. Tchaka Shepherd said it best, "our conference is only as powerful as our speakers and attendees are in what they do"! Hope to see you at our next event!
-Conference Planning Committee