October 08, 2004

The Washington Hispanic newspaper and Noticias Univision Washington, the capital area’s most respected Latino news media outlets, announced a partnership with New York’s Kettering Foundation to develop a series of reports and townhall meetings intended to unite the local Hispanic community in confronting a wave of gang violence affecting the Washington DC metropolitan area.

The project named “Saving our youth”, will combine news resources from the collaboration of these media outlets with the purpose of stimulating community involvement to search for root causes of the problem of youth participation in local Latin gangs and its possible solutions.

“The gang problem in our communities is out of our control, we can not escape our mission as social educators and must get involved to become part of the solution to this big epidemic that is affecting our society. We want to make a difference and want our young people to understand that we are worried about them,” said Johnny A. Yataco, President of Washington Hispanic.

Getting closer to our community will reinforce Washington Hispanic and Univision’s commitment,” said Nelly Carrión , Director of Washington Hispanic. “We will initiate this in journalism, at times when our journalism will continue to be vigilant, balanced and objective,” added Carrión.

Launch of the pilot project includes events throughout the metropolitan area, and is to last approximately three months. The full process of informing, convening, evaluating, and recommending solutions for this complex issue is expected to take between two and three years.

“We look forward to working with Washington Hispanic and the Kettering Foundation to provide the public with a forum for this problem in order to improve the lives of Hispanics in the capital area who suffer the ill effects of gang violence while they strive to unite their family and contribute to the fabric of this country”, added Rudy Guernica, General Manager of Univision Washington.

The community ‘townhall’ meetings will feature the gathering of community leaders, Latino families, students, and government representatives, religious and political leaders.

The Kettering Foundation has a profound interest in working with the Hispanic community in the nation’s capital, where local media reports an alarming increase in Latino gang activity”, said Kenneth Brown, coordinator for the Foundation’s local efforts. “We need to frame this effort with the experience necessary to maximize the results from all the resources of personnel and time that are dedicated to it”, added Brown.

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