MINNEAPOLIS (April 3, 2014) — The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the City of Minneapolis on Thursday launched a new public awareness campaign in concert with National Youth Violence Prevention Week, April 7-11.
The campaign, called SPEAK UP, educates students about the important roles they can play in preventing violence, and includes public service announcements, posters and poster contests, interactive BuzzFeed-style quizzes, pledge drive and resource/activity kits.
“We are dedicated to identifying real solutions that can help keep our schools and communities safe,” said Dan Gross, President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “When students speak up, they can save lives. This public awareness campaign is about something real that students can do to help make their schools and communities safer.”
With attackers telling other people about their intentions in advance in four out of five school shootings, a powerful, new national public service announcement, called “Signs,” will creatively emphasize the importance of recognizing and reporting these very threats and other warning signs of violence.
The PSAs, which will be broadcast on network and cable television stations and posted on Facebook and YouTube beginning April 7th, will direct students to make anonymous reports about “signs of violence” by calling the hotline, 1-866-SPEAK-UP. Since the hotline was established in 2002, nearly 40,000 calls have been received.
“Forty kids are shot or killed by guns every day in our nation. It is happening in large cities and small towns, in private homes and public places – even schools. It is clear that guns in the wrong hands are a major contributor to this violence, and this campaign provides students with important tools they can use do something about it,” said Gross.
As part of Minneapolis’s campaign against youth violence, SPEAK UP materials, including posters and resource/activity kits, will be distributed in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong to middle and high schools across the city. Students also will be given orange SPEAK UP wallet cards and wristbands, printed with the hotline number, to serve as both a reminder to “speak up” as well as a means of showing their commitment to ending violence. Outdoor advertising will be featured on buses and billboards throughout the city beginning Monday, April 7th and continue throughout the month.
Minneapolis Health Department Commissioner Gretchen Musicant said, “Conversations with Minneapolis youth helped us identify the need for an anonymous way for young people to report information about threats of violence. The partnership with SPEAK UP helps us meet that need.”
The resource/activity kits will also be available at www.speakup.com, along with stories of students who have spoken up; the TV, print and online ads; and other activities. The PSAs are available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/BradyCampaign.
SPEAK UP is a part of Minneapolis’ Blueprint for Action to Prevent Youth Violence, a multi-year multi-faceted strategy that works to engage the entire community to address the root causes of youth violence. Since its adoption in 2008, the strategy has focused on identifying new opportunities for early intervention, expanding programming for Minneapolis youth and providing the tools and resources needed for young people to build a successful future.
Mr. Gross thanked U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand and Reps. Bill Pascrell and Carolyn McCarthy, whose advocacy resulted in securing United States Department of Justice funding for this expansion of the SPEAK UP initiative.
The mission of the Brady organization is to create a safer America for all of us that will lead to the dramatic reduction in gun deaths and injuries that we all seek. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow our Facebook Page and Twitter Account. The Speak Up campaign was originally created by the Center to Prevent Youth Violence, which is merging with the Brady organization.