Mayor Rybak Announces Youth Violence Coordinator
City Seeks "Upstream" Solutions to Youth Violence with Public Health Model
April 14, 2008 (MINNEAPOLIS) -- Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced today that Bass Zanjani has been chosen to serve as the Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator for the City of Minneapolis. Mr. Zanjanis chief role will be to work with the Citys Youth Violence Prevention Committee to implement the Blueprint for Action to Prevent Youth Violence in Minneapolis, a multi-faceted action plan launched this year to reduce youth violence and crime.
"Youth violence affects each of us and each of us has a role to play to keep our children and youth safe," Mayor Rybak said. "Government alone cannot eliminate violence from our community. In order to turn around the epidemic of youth violence in Minneapolis, we need to surround our youth and their families with support, opportunity and hope, while also hold them accountable for their actions."
"Implementing our plan to prevent youth violence with a public health framework will take the combined efforts of many people, institutions and organizations," Rybak added. "I am proud to see the collaborative energy taking hold around this effort, with so many organizations and community members dedicated to making real change for our youth."
"I am very excited that Bass Zanjani has come on board to coordinate our efforts to implement the youth violence prevention Blueprint," Rybak said. "He brings the right balance of solid public policy and community-based experience. His energy and passion for this issue are exactly what we need to keep this extremely important initiative moving forward."
Zanjani brings to the city’s Youth Violence Prevention team a broad and diverse public policy background. Previously, he served as Chief of Staff at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center and has been a policy aide to two United States Senators. He also worked as a policy advisor for the Baha’i International Community on human rights issues in Haifa, Israel. Zanjani has an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota.
In 2007 the Minneapolis Youth Violence Committee reviewed best practices, met with young people, consulted national experts, assessed existing youth violence prevention programs, and engaged in a deep discussion about the complex issues facing young people in our community to produce the Blueprint for Action to Prevent Youth Violence in Minneapolis.
Mayor Rybak and the other members of the Committee launched The Blueprint in January and are now developing specific steps to implement the 34 action items included in the plan. Chief among their objectives was to hire a coordinator to manage the plan moving forward.
"It is truly a privilege for me to work with Mayor Rybak and Commissioner Gretchen Musicant on such a critically important issue that significantly impacts not only specific individuals, but also the community at large" Zanjani said. "Addressing youth violence as a public health issue is innovative and helps us to more fully understand it and begin to mitigate its impact."
Published Apr. 14, 2008