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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Multi-Agency Team Plans Events In Boston During National Youth Violence Prevention Week

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BOSTON - In an effort to give school-aged youth a voice in preventing violence in the community, a series of events will take place throughout the City of Boston during National Youth Violence Prevention Week, April 7-11, 2014. A highlight will be an anti-violence, hip-hop video contest, featuring videos submitted by Boston youth. The winners of the contest will be announced on April 10, at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Roxbury.

A coalition consisting of representatives from the Boston Police Department, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston Centers for Youth and Families, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and the United States Attorney’s Office has developed several contests to encourage creativity and inclusiveness in the process of creating peace in the City’s neighborhoods. The theme of this year’s National Youth Violence Prevention Week activities is, “Youth Standing STRONG Against Violence.”

“It is extremely important for young people to get reinforcement that they’re a vital part of the community, that they have real power to prevent violence, and that there are people who care a great deal about their futures. That’s the message these events are designed to deliver,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.

“Engaging with our youth is a key piece of a comprehensive approach to addressing violence,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “We need to get kids invested in their communities and we need to show them that we are equally invested in them and in their neighborhoods. We can’t arrest our way out of this problem. We need to go further and start earlier, getting at the root causes of violence, including supporting our kids.”

“When it comes to preventing violence, Boston's youth are our most powerful allies. These events aren't just engaging kids and teens in contests and creative pursuits: they're empowering young people at every level to make the world around them a better, safer place for all of us,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

"The Boston Police Department is thrilled to be partnering with so many agencies on violence prevention week. Together we are engaging youth from kindergarten through high school in creative ways to stand up and speak out about the violence that is impacting their communities. I'm really looking forward to seeing and hearing how they will express themselves on this critically important issue. Preventing and reducing youth violence is my top priority -- I encourage young people to take advantage of these contest opportunities to make your voices heard," said Police Commissioner William B. Evans.

"Violence prevention and youth outreach have been two of the cornerstones of my administration and I am proud to be part of activities like this, which can help young people to not only steer clear of our facilities, but realize their talent and potential to be successful," said
Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins.

"If we are going to eradicate violence in the world, then we must involve youth on many levels. This week's events are opportunities to engage the collective youth voice in promoting peace,” said Christopher Byner, Interim Executive Director for Boston Centers for Youth & Families.

Children in grades K-5 in all Boston schools are invited to enter a poster contest, designing their own poster with an anti-violence theme. Prizes for the top three winners will include Target gift cards and a plaque presented at an assembly at their schools. The first-place winner will also be treated to “Lunch with a VIP.”

Middle school students are encouraged to write a poem reflecting the “Youth Standing STRONG Against Violence” message. Prizes for the top three winners will include Target gift cards and a plaque presented at an assembly at their schools. The first-place winner will also be treated to “Lunch with a VIP.”

High school students can submit an anti-violence hip-hop video up to three minutes long, with the top three winners to be announced on April 10, at an event being held at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. First, second and third-place winners will receive Target gift cards. The Grand Prize will also include four Red Sox tickets as well as their song and video being spotlighted in a special segment on JAM’N 94.5’s “Launch Pad” as well as the station’s blog and social media. The second prize includes four Red Sox tickets.

All entries must be received no later than March 14, 2014. Winners will be announced by April 3, 2014.

For contest rules, entry forms and more information, visit www.cityofboston/bcyf or send an email to youthstandingstrong@yahoo.com.

Updated December 15, 2014