LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's National Youth Violence Prevention Week and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer wants you to take the "Peace Pledge."

What You Need To Know

  • April 12-16 is National Youth Violence Prevention Week

  • Mayor Fischer wants people to sign the online Peace Pledge

  • Learning about the three steps to violence prevention

  • Participants encouraged to use social media #LouYVPW and #NYVPW

Louisville recently experienced one of its most violent years in history. 

High school senior Erica McPheeters speaks during NYVPW kick-off event

There were 173 criminal homicides in the metro last year and more than 150 were shooting deaths, according to Louisville Metro Police. On Monday, Mayor Greg Fischer kicked off the National Youth Violence Prevention Week (NYVPW).

“Our goal is to raise awareness about what everybody can do as individuals," Fischer said.

The week is largely an educational moment for residents and Fischer said the biggest challenge facing Louisville is gun violence.

“There’s just way too many guns on the streets of America. There are more guns in America than people in America and we are the only country in the world that has this scourge like this. We are the only country in the world that has the type of homicide and gun violence that we have,” he said.

“On a national level there is still plenty of work that needs to be done in order to protect the youth from different types of violence that impacts them," Erica McPheeters said.

McPheeters is a member of the Youth Implementation Team helping support the city's endeavors in educating young people about violence and how to remove yourself from or avoid violent situations.

Activities during NYVPW are organized by the Louisville Metro Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.

"There will be social media engagement around what violence is and the varying ways in which different kinds of violence affect youth in our city. There will also be a virtual art show utilizing artistic expression to spark conversations around violence," OSHN Director Monique Williams said Monday.

Williams is asking young people to sign a peace pledge to stand against violence and learn about conflict resolution.

From the Office of the Mayor:

Created by the Mayor in 2015, the Youth Team is managed by the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods to elevate the voices of young people on matters that impact them and their hometown. During this 2020-2021 term, the 16 JCPS high school and college students have been meeting virtually, participating in activities that build advocacy and civic engagement skills.

“National Youth Violence Prevention Week is an opportunity to center the voices of Louisville youth in conversations around violence,” said Monique Williams, OSHN Director. “It’s a time where young people mobilize other young people to bring awareness to the issue, discuss how it impacts them and their peers, and engage in activities that promote safety and peace.”

Participants are encouraged to use the social media hashtags #LouYVPW and #NYVPW. Click here to learn more about OSHN’s National Youth Violence Prevention Week events.