Violence Prevention Plan Gains Momentum
I am delighted to report that the Health Energy and Environment Committee unanimously approved the “Blueprint for Action for Youth Violence Prevention” yesterday afternoon. This means it moves forward to the council with recommendation. We had a good presentation from Gretchen Musicant, the Mayor and Karen Kelley-Ariwoola, from the Minneapolis Foundation. Kelly and RT were two of three co-chairs of the Steering Committee that drafted the plan. The presentation was followed by a few comments, including some great words from Shane Price who serves with me (and 30 plus others) on the Steering Committee. There were some questions and discussion, mostly commending the group for doing such a great job and some about how to use and target resources wisely. One community member (Omar Jamal) expressed concern about the sense from some that more people could have been kept informed about this and that they need to be included as we move forward. The plan will be voted on by the full Council on January 18th.
I am hopeful that the Council’s action later this month and the Minneapolis Foundation's Minnesota Meeting on Youth Violence Prevention tomorrow will help jump start this effort. The city should have a staff person hired early in February and we will need to stay engaged and keep pushing this if we are to really make progress. Youth violence is one of the most tenacious (and in some respects well funded in terms of the drug, gun and violent media industries) problems we face. We will have to be equally as tenacious in getting our plan implemented, (and funded) in a successful way.
One of the next steps I have taken to help bring this forward is to convene a community meeting in my ward to present and discuss our plan. It would be wonderful to have some of you join me and also to help spread the word about the meeting to help get others to attend. It is open to all and I hope it will be only one of many many such meetings and discussions throughout the community and city and the county figuring out how we can best use these good intentions and best laid out plans to really make a difference in the lives of our kids and their families and neighborhoods.
The Ward 2 Roundtable Discussion on the (then passed and city approved) Youth Violence Prevention Plan will be Tuesday January 22, 7-9 pm.at Matthews Center, 24th St. E and 28th Ave. S. Gretchen Musicant, the head of our Health and Family Support Department, who was central to the initiation and development of this plan, will be joining me.
I am also hopeful that soon we will take the plan to our government and community partners for their approval and buy-in. Your input and advice about how to do that would be greatly appreciated.
As many of you know, this has been a major priority of mine for over a year and this is a very significant step in the ongoing work. I am proud of what we have accomplished so far.