On September 21, 2011, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that eliminated $19.7 million in funding for the CDC’s Youth Violence Prevention Activities. If actualized, this elimination will be extremely detrimental to the years of work the CDC and its community partners throughout the country have done to create safe and healthy communities where youth can live and thrive. The CDC utilizes a public health framework to address the root causes of violence as well as to engage communities in primary prevention activities. As our colleagues at the Prevention Institute have stated, “A prevention approach is grounded in the knowledge that violence is preventable, not inevitable”. Contrary to criminal justice based approaches which are often punitive, this public health approach is proactive and is aligned with the various primary prevention efforts being utilized in California such as Green Dot initiatives, MyStrength campaigns, and a number of other programs.
While the loss of this funding will not impact RPE funding streams or programs directly, many of our community partners will experience direct cuts if this money disappears. CDC Youth Violence Prevention Activities include Academic Centers for Excellence on Youth Prevention, UNITY (Urban Networks Increasing Thriving Youth) Initiative and Striving to Reduce Violence Everywhere (STRIVE). Each one of these programs has a local chapter within California. Our community partners are our allies in violence prevention, working alongside us to help us achieve our specific goal of ending sexual violence. Our work depends on recognizing that when we act alone we can only achieve limited success. We must recognize the intersections between our movement’s goal of ending sexual violence and the efforts of our partners to prevent violence among youth.
It is critical that we stand alongside our partners in preserving the work of youth violence prevention advocates. At the 2011 Ending Violence Against Women and Teen Dating Violence Forum, Cristy Chung and Aimee Thompson talked about building beloved communities. Chung and Thompson stated that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked to build these beloved communities through realistic, attainable, and achievable methods, and that this work had to happen with a critical mass of people. Without Youth Violence Prevention Activities funding, we stand to lose the means to make building safe and thriving communities through realistic, attainable, and achievable methods. We stand to lose a critical mass of advocates, supporters, and direct service providers that create community cohesion.  It is vital that we take action to restore and maintain the CDC Youth Violence Prevention Activities for both fiscal year 2012 and 2013. CALCASA has offered its support to these efforts. Please join us in supporting this important work by having your organization sign on to a joint letter.
Please sign-on to a letter to Congress that asks members to protect federal youth violence prevention funding at CDC. You will be joining national partners such as National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Safe States Alliance and local efforts such as the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles when you sign on. Over 2,000 letters have already been sent; send yours today and tell your senators that a budget without youth violence prevention funding is unacceptable.