Mayor Scott Holds First Youth Summit, Giving Youth a Seat at the Table on Issues Impacting Them Most
Tuesday May 18th, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (Tuesday, May 18, 2021) — This week, Mayor Brandon M. Scott will hold his first youth summit to engage in dialogue with Baltimore youth. The Mayor’s Youth Summit will span three days, both in-person and virtually, from Thursday, May 20 to Saturday, May 22.
The inaugural youth summit—Building A Better, Safer City Together—will focus on how young people in Baltimore are experiencing heightened levels of violence in recent months, and what they need to be safe and successful.
“Our young people deserve our focus, and we can’t give them that if we are not working shoulder to shoulder with them as partners. This upcoming summit creates the opportunity to start to do just that around an issue of critical importance for our city: violence,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “In the first four months of this year we lost, on average, more than one young person under the age of 24 every week to violence. I am frustrated that so many young people are victims of violence in our city, and I am committed to engaging with our youth to make this a city where all children can grow up safe and thrive.”
When Mayor Scott took office in December 2020, he committed to launching biannual youth summits to bring attention to youth-focused issues in the City and hear from young people directly.
The summit marks the first in a series of conversations with youth Mayor Scott plans to host throughout his administration’s first term. It is being coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success, in partnership with about a dozen other city agencies and nonprofit partners, and some two-dozen youth who are advising and helping design, facilitate, host, and promote the three conversations.
“We have such great sensitivity to the preciousness and value of the lives of our youth, and are committed to working with them to do better by them—specifically, to protect their lives and build a better, safer city for them,” said Tisha Edwards, Executive Director, the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success. “We know it is our responsibility to contribute in a meaningful way to building up Baltimore to be a place where young people can reach their full potential.”
The inaugural summit will begin with an in-person dialogue between the mayor and youth on Thursday, May 20 at Rita Church Rec Center. A second in-person dialogue will take place on Friday, May 21 with students at Renaissance Academy. A larger virtual summit for up to 500 young people and adults will be held on Saturday, May 22. Participants at this virtual summit will talk to the Mayor and provide feedback on the Mayor’s recently released Draft Violence Prevention Framework and Plan in a breakout session facilitated by the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE).
“Some things the mayor could do to help the youth of Baltimore City is interact with them more,” added Jordyn Blanding, 17, an ambassador with the Healing Youth Alliance. “I think a lot of times the youth don’t have interactions between their officers or the people who are in office and them, so they don’t really understand it or don’t really have any interactions so they won’t care about the things that are going on.”
“MONSE is eager to participate in Mayor’s Scott’s first youth summit. Conversations about violence prevention in our neighborhoods must always include Baltimore’s young people because, far too often, they are victims of violence—directly and indirectly,” said MONSE Director Shantay Jackson. “MONSE is excited to partner with MOCFS and other city agencies to lift young voices, to listen to young voices, and to respond to young voices as we co-produce public safety.”