From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: LaJuana Barton
February 28, 2006

Schools, students, parents, community to sign pro- education, anti-violence pact

DALLAS -- Area school districts, civic leaders, students, parents and public officials will take part in a ceremonial contract signing confirming their agreement to take a stand against youth-related violence and promote education. The ceremony is part of the "It's About Our Community" anti-youth violence campaign spearheaded by State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas). The signing will take place Thursday, March 2, 2006 at the 6th Floor Flag Room at Dallas City Hall. The time is 10:00 a.m.

"I am excited that "It's About Our Community," a project designed to protect and motivate our young people, has gained area support," said Senator West. "A project this size is not an easy undertaking, but any worthwhile goal deserves the effort it takes to make it a reality. As parents, community leaders and public servants, we are charged with no greater task than to ensure the safety and well-being of our youth."

Since last fall, Senator West has met with school officials, business representatives, area law enforcement agencies, elected officials and faith-based entities from Dallas, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Duncanville and Lancaster in creating a holistic response to an episode of violence that saw two young people lose their lives and nine others injured by gunfire. While the outbreak served as the impetus for "It's About Our Community," the response has been to develop strategies to help young people steer clear of trouble and reinforce community support for students who exhibit productive behaviors. The ceremonial contract signing symbolizes the community's unified response.

"We are all stakeholders in the future prosperity of this region," said Senator West. "Our schools produce students who will soon enter the workforce and go on to become the next generation of leaders for our community. Our young people need to know that choices made now will impact their futures and that they do not have to face those futures alone. Together, we as a community will help them to achieve their goals."

Town hall meetings have been held in each "It's About Our Community" partner city. Work is now underway to create a network for mentoring opportunities, after-school and summer programs. In coming weeks, participating school districts will sponsor job fairs that are part of "It's About Our Community" plans to launch a pilot summer youth employment program. That effort is in conjunction with local chambers of commerce with support of WorkSource for Dallas County.

For more information, please contact LaJuana Barton or Kelvin Bass at 214-467-0123.