As a result of the violent youth activity that coincided with the 2010 Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration and the increasing violence that threatens our youth on a daily basis, the city of Indianapolis along with Indiana Black Expo (IBE) formed the Summer Celebration Task Force. The task force was created to address youth violence, security and safety at future IBE and community events as well as to identify the root causes of youth violence.
However, there are two key audiences missing from the task force: youth and youth workers. While it is important for the task force to include community, business and government leaders, without youth voice and youth worker input on the task force, the root causes will not be genuinely identified and a solution will not be found. Youth, whom are the ones that will be directly impacted from the decisions and recommendations, have valuable perspectives to add to the task force.
Because of the significant gap in youth representation on the task force, the Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY), went to the source, youth, to ask their opinions on youth violence, why it happens and what we as a community can do together to solve this issue. MCCOY staff members conducted three focus groups at local youth-serving agencies: Lilly Unit of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Indianapolis, Hawthorne Community Center, and YouthBuild Indy. During these focus groups, youth ranging from age 11-24 answered questions about youth violence and contributed their insights about possible solutions addressing the issue.
The findings of MCCOY’s focus groups, which were sent to the city of Indianapolis and the IBE office, are included in a report titled Perspectives on Youth Violence: Youth Share their Thoughts on a Community-Wide Problem. It is our hope that MCCOY’s work will contribute to the success of the Summer Celebration Task Force in grappling with this difficult issue and that the task force will consider adding youth voice and youth worker input on the task force itself. The community at large will also find our report helpful in working with youth and adding youth voice to address and identify community issues.
Download your copy of Perspectives on Youth Violence: Youth Share their Thoughts on a Community-Wide Problem.