Youth violence experts from San Jose and Salinas have wrapped up a two-day meeting Monday and Tuesday of a national youth gang prevention forum in Washington, D.C.
The two California cities are among six U.S. municipalities selected to participate in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, established last year by President Obama.
The purpose of the forum, sponsored by the U.S. departments of justice and education, is to enable cities to exchange ideas on challenges and strategies and to explore how federal agencies can better support local efforts.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday, "The work we are doing is sending an unmistakable message: that, in this country, we will not give up on our children when it comes to combating youth violence.
"The priorities that we set now are what will allow America's next generation of leaders to rise above the current threats and obstacles, break destructive cycles and seize tomorrow's opportunities," Holder said.
The other cities in the forum are Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Memphis, Tenn.
Representatives had an initial meeting in Washington, D.C., in October 2010 and met again in April to present comprehensive plans each city developed for preventing youth and gang violence.
The purpose of this week's meeting was to enable participants to share experiences in implementing their plans. They also discussed strategies for funding plans in tough economic times and ways of improving data sharing, the Justice Department said.
Participants included law enforcement officers, city officials, policy and public-health experts, teachers, researchers, social service providers, community and faith leaders, and parents, according to the department.
San Jose's plan is an extension from 2011 to 2013 of the 2008 strategic work plan of that city's Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force, which was established in 1991.
The Salinas plan, led by a coalition called the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, is entitled the Salinas Comprehensive Strategy for Community-wide Violence Reduction.
The Justice Department said the six cities in the forum were chosen on the basis of need, geographic diversity and willingness and capacity to engage in the process.