The partnership will host a National Town Hall entitled Saving Lives and Building Dreams: Community Peace and Thriving Youth at the Carter Center in Atlanta on April 4th. This event transforms what has traditionally been a day of mourning for the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. into a day that will build momentum and engagement for non-violence and peaceful communities for years to come.
Explains the Institute's Martin Luther King III, "My father and mother dedicated their lives to creating a more just and humane society using the concept of non-violence. It is only fitting that we take this opportunity to re-vision what has been a day commemorating a violent act into a day that celebrates and creates peace."
This collaboration focuses on turning Dr. King's vision of non-violence into a reality, thereby improving the lives and opportunities of inner city youth. Despite overall reductions in levels of violent crime, violence affecting youth, especially youth of color, remains at epidemic levels. Homicide is the leading cause of death for African Americans, between the ages of 10 and 24, and it is the second-leading cause of death for Asians and Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Latinos of the same age.
The Town Hall Meeting will provide the foundation for the launch of 2012 MLK/UNITY Urban Summer: Saving Lives and Building Dreams. The Urban Summer will hone in on the months when young people are particularly vulnerable, and build on the public health approach to preventing violence advanced by the CDC. Instead of simply ‘treating' violence after the fact, one arrest at a time, this approach focuses on what causes violence: it engages youth to create new opportunities for participation, leadership and economic opportunity, and dismantles barriers to peaceful streets and connected neighbors. "Violence is preventable, and we know what to do to prevent it," says UNITY Director Rachel Davis of Prevention Institute. "This initiative gives cities across the country concrete tools that will offer their young people opportunities instead of arrests." Youth in participating cities will be able to participate in job readiness, arts, music and physical activity programs.
"This initiative gives young people the opportunity and support to follow their dreams. We want every young person-particularly in highly impacted urban areas-to be engaged, to have options, to achieve," says Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson. "It takes political will and a national commitment to make that happen. This is the next step in making Dr. King's dreams of peace a reality."
Learn more: Pre-Event Telebriefing: April 4th at 12noon to 1pm (ET)/ 9am to 10am (PT)
Media Only: 888-795-0855
International Number: 630-395-0360
Non Media: 1-888-447-7153, pass code 227380
Download the day's full agenda, and view the press kit.
The mission of Martin Luther King III Institute for Center for Social Justice and Human Rights is to be an international vehicle for social justice and human rights for education, advocacy and direct social activism to identify and apply innovative solutions to address the evils of oppression, racism, poverty, slavery and militarism.
Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth (UNITY) is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in part by the Kresge Foundation. Through training, consultation, and information about the problem and solutions, UNITY supports US cities in advancing more effective, sustainable efforts to prevent violence before it occurs so that urban youth can thrive in safe environments with supportive relationships and opportunities for success. UNITY is coordinated by Prevention Institute, in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and UC San Francisco. Prevention Institute is a national non-profit organization, established in 1997, dedicated to placing prevention at the center of efforts to improve community health, equity and well-being. The Institute specializes in building capacity among community-based organizations and government agencies at the local, state, and federal level to develop strategies for environmental, policy, and systems-level changes to prevent illness and injury in the first place. Find us at www.preventioninstitute.org/unity.