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Prevention Institute

March 29th, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Embodied in Launch of New Initiative for Community Peace and Thriving Youth

Since 1968, April 4th has been a day to mourn the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and reflect on his legacy. This year, Prevention Institute’s UNITY initiative has partnered with the Martin Luther King III Institute for Social Justice & Human Rights to honor and advance Dr. King’s vision of peace and non-violence. Together, we will launch a two-year initiative, Community Peace and Thriving Youth, on April 4th.

Join us for April 4th Revisited: Saving Lives, Building Dreams, a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, April 4, 2012, from 1 to 5 p.m. (EST). Speakers include Martin Luther King III; UNITY Co-Chair/Prevention Institute Executive Director Larry Cohen; Dr. Howard Spivak, Violence Prevention Director at CDC; and more. Prevention Institute invites you to participate:

  • Join us for this historic event at The Carter Center in Atlanta (Register Now).
  • Stay connected on Twitter: Follow @UNITYinitiative and @SavingLives12, and read the #savinglives12 conversation thread for real-time updates. If you’re attending in person or listening in to the pre-event telebriefing, tweet with us using #savinglives12.
  • 'Like' SavingLivesBuildingDreams on Facebook for the latest event news and updates.
  • Listen to the pre-event telebriefing: Organized for national media, we invite you to listen in at 12 p.m. EST. This will feature invited mayors and members of Congress, and a response panel of national experts on preventing violence: 1-888-447-7153,  pass code 227380# 

The event will mark April 4th as a day for building momentum for non-violence and peaceful communities. This new partnership between UNITY and The Martin Luther King III Institute builds on the intensive work and success of UNITY cities. Representatives of Denver, Houston, Minneapolis and Seattle will share their progress on April 4.

This event challenges all of us to turn Dr. King’s vision of non-violence into reality, and improve the lives and opportunities for all youth, especially inner city youth. Despite overall reductions in levels of violent crime, violence among 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. 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. 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.

Prevention Institute looks forward to this upcoming collaboration between UNITY, The Martin Luther King III Institute and other UNITY partners to build momentum for non-violence and to engage young people and their communities. If you will be in the Atlanta area on April 4, register now, as space is limited.

UNITY is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and in part by The Kresge Foundation. For more information, visit www.preventioninstitute.org/unity.

Upcoming Events

- April 10, Atlanta: A Dialogue About Youth Violence Prevention in America, 1 to 3 p.m. EST. Join UNITY Co-Chair Deborah Prothrow-Stith and Alex Kotlowitz, producer of Chicago CeaseFire's documentary,“The Interrupters."
- April 27, Washington D.C.: 12 to 1:30 p.m. EST. UNITY will host a Congressional briefing on violence as a public health issue, and featuring Dr. Howard Spivak, Violence Prevention Director at the CDC, and others. Check the UNITY events page for details, coming soon.

Prevention, Not Just Punishment

In The Sentencing Project’s 25th anniversary publication, UNITY Co-Chair Deborah Prothrow-Stith calls on criminal justice to partner with public health, and prevent violence before it occurs. Read “To Build a Better Criminal Justice System: 25 Experts Envision the Next 25 Years of Reform. (pages 28 and 29).

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