Mayor Greg Fischer announced today the kickoff of Louisville’s participation in National Youth Violence Prevention Week, a campaign to boost violence prevention awareness and strategies for youth, parents, teachers, school personnel and community members.
From March 19 to March 23, nearly 100 activities, trainings, art projects and anti-violence campaigns will be held by Louisville schools and other youth-serving organizations throughout the community. Activities were identified by 40 young leaders convened for planning sessions and will center on violence prevention strategies such as knowing the signs of violence to prevent it before it happens, promoting respect and tolerance, being an upstander, resolving conflicts peacefully and uniting in action.
The week is a partnership among Mayor Fischer’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, Jefferson County Public Schools, Cities United, Metro United Way, Peace Education, Centerstone, Muhammad Ali Center, Center for Women and Families, Louisville Metro Police and other groups, and part of a national initiative organized by Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), an initiative of Newtown, Connecticut-based group Sandy Hook Promise.
“Teaching young people strategies to prevent youth violence before it starts is another building block toward our goal to create a compassionate city where every youth feels safe and has the opportunity to reach their full potential,” Mayor Fischer said. “This week shows the important role young people can have, and want to have, in making their communities safer.”
“As superintendent, I’m so proud of the positive steps our students and staff are taking to promote inclusion and reduce violence, not just this week but throughout the year,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools. “Safety is our highest priority, and it’s profoundly rewarding to see this next generation of leaders taking up that mantle to model, by word and deed, what needs to be done to make their schools and communities safer.”
According to SAVE, 60 percent of American children are exposed to violence, crime or abuse in their homes, schools or communities. The issue of youth violence prevention has once again come under a national spotlight following school shootings in Parkland, Fla. and Marshall County, Ky. Recently, students from across the United States, including Louisville, walked out of schools to recognize victims of shootings and call for measures to reduce school violence.
National Youth Violence Prevention Week is just one of the efforts coordinated by the Office of Safe and Health Neighborhoods, created by Mayor Fischer in 2013 and charged with helping create a city of safe neighborhoods, where everyone is supported, free of violence, and prepared for lifelong success. Throughout the week, participants will be using the social media hashtags #LouYVPW and #NYVPW.
Media wishing to visit school activities on March 19 for b-roll or reporting may consider the following:
Carter Traditional Elementary, 3600 Bohne Ave, Louisville, KY 40211, is partnering with the Junior League of Louisville for a ‘Painting a Pathway for Peace’ activity until 3 p.m. on the 19th. All students and staff will paint pebbles throughout the day as a symbol of working together for a common goal; the colored pebbles will then be used to fill in a pathway in the school’s courtyard as a visual reminder of the project.
At Kammerer Middle School, 7315 Wesboro Road, students in various grades will be displaying posters and chain links with non-violence themes in the hallways, and airing student-made public service announcements about peace and inclusion throughout the day.