BALTIMORE - Following a rash of violence against Baltimore youth, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the formation of a forum for youth to speak directly to the administration and other Baltimore City leader to express their concerns and provide ideas for how government can better support them.
This announcement is the latest part of Rawlings-Blake’s push to reach out the Baltimore youth community. At the state of the city address in February, she announced her plan to implement Youth Connection Centers for teens that violate the City curfew.
The centers will allow minors in violation of curfew laws to be transported to safe environments until parents or guardians arrive to pick them up. While there, youth and their families will be connected with services that support and promote positive youth development. Initial funding for the Youth Connection Centers was approved during this week's Board of Estimates meeting.
This comes at the same time that Baltimore introduced the B'More Night Hoops Basketball League for youth and young adults, ages 15-21. In addition playing, participants will be mentored, as well as learn about opportunities pertaining to education, employment development, and financial literacy.
"I'm committed to our young people," Rawlings-Blake said in a statment. "And, now is the time for us to come together, rally around our youth, tell them how much we love them, and show them that we are working to make sure they can realize their full potential."
Rawlings-Blake made the announcement Thursday during an event to announce the next two stops on her Public Safety Town Hall Tour. It also comes as the city deal with the murders of 14-year-old Najee Thomas and 17-year-old Michael Mayfield .
Thomas was shot earlier this week in Cherry Hill, while Mayfield was shot multiple times last week on Lyndhurst Avenue.
"Senseless violence has already taken the lives of nine young people under the age of 20 this year," Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. "In our grief, it's important to remember that the best way to honor these young lives is to recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to support our youth. We must be there to show our youth we care before it becomes a law enforcement issue."
The details for the next stops on the Public Safety Town Hall Tour are as follows:
- Monday, May 5, 7 p.m.: Northwestern Police District Public Safety Forum, Jewish Community Center, 5700 Park Heights Avenue
- Monday, May 12, 7 p.m.: Southwestern Police District Public Safety Forum, Edmondson-Westside High School, 501 N. Athol Avenue
- Tuesday, May 13, 6 p.m.: City-wide Youth Violence Forum for Youth, City Hall, 100 N. Holliday Street, 4th Floor, Curran Room
The public safety town hall meetings allow the mayor and police commissioner to engage directly with Baltimore City residents and hear their concerns regarding crime in Baltimore
The tour is expected to continue throughout the next couple of months—ultimately making stops in all nine Baltimore police districts.