Words Not Weapons: Youth Violence Prevention Campaign

Words not Weapons: Youth Violence Prevention Campaignwords not weapons

With the goal of bringing awareness to youth violence prevention, the Baltimore City Health Department will be launching a communication campaign centered in Baltimore's emergency rooms (ERs) and spanning across neighborhoods, schools, and community hubs across the city. The campaign, called "Words Not Weapons," is a way to spread a message of non-violent conflict resolution, and it focuses on communication as being the key to violence prevention.

The Words Not Weapons campaign asks the following pledges from three groups of constituents, to build a healthier, safer, and stronger Baltimore:

1. For medical professionals (particularly doctors, nurses and other providers in ERs) in Baltimore, we will set aside the "treat and street" mentality, and instead commit to treating violent injuries as more than just medical issues. We will discuss Baltimore's current epidemic of violence with patients and pass out Words Not Weapons flyers and resource cards to patients, and especially to youth. We recognize that simply exchanging a few extra words with patients can save lives.  

2. For adults in Baltimore, in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and beyond, we will be the support system that our youth need. Instead of closing the curtains, walking by, or looking away, we will be present and communicate to youth that we care. We will be the adult that a young person can reach out to and ask for help. We will offer words of support and encouragement, to help them decide not to fight.

3. For youth in Baltimore, we will commit to being part of the solution. When faced with conflict, we will use words, not weapons. We will take the time to: Walk away, Organize our thoughts, Reach out for help, and Decide not to fight. If we have concerns or frustrations, we will talk them out, recognizing that communication is always a better choice than conflict. We will make sure to remember that words matter.

The time for stronger action against violence is now. Everyone in Baltimore, whether young or old, threatened by violence or distant from it, has the responsibility to recognize violence is a public health issue with consequences not just for today, but for generations to come. Because of that, we must today decide to stem the rising tide of violence in our city, and build a healthier community out of words, not weapons. 


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