THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 10, 1999
REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY
AFTER WHITE HOUSE STRATEGY SESSION
ON CHILDREN, VIOLENCE AND RESPONSIBILITY
The Rose Garden
2:06 P.M. EDT
MRS. CLINTON: Thank you, all. I think everyone who participated in the meeting this morning came away with the positive feeling that there isnt any problem that we face when it comes to our young people, that if were honest enough to talk about it we can come up with ideas about how to address it, and we can better empower all parts of our society to be part of the solution.
To that end, the President mentioned that we want to have a national campaign to prevent youth violence. Its modeled on the national campaign against teenage pregnancy, the national campaign that was launched to convince employers to hire people coming off of welfare to go to work. Its in the greatest of American traditions of the kind of public-private partnership that is unique to our country.
And in the next weeks that campaign will be put together. It will be a not-for-profit, 501-C3 effort that will bring together many of the people around the table today in the East Room and many others. It will come forward, we hope, with very specific suggestions about what parents can do, what schools can do, what community groups can do, what the media can do, what gun manufacturers can do, what all of us can do.
You probably know that I really do think it takes a village; but my book had a subtitle, and that was, it takes a village to raise a child and other lessons children teach us. And the most important lesson I think all of us are learning, once again because of the tragedy in Littleton and the consequences that flow from that, are that we have to do a better job doing our most important job, and that is helping to raise our children and create a climate in our country that is good for children.
We have to battle a lot of attitudes and cynicism and skepticism and hopelessness and helplessness, and a sense by many people that the forces that are arrayed against families and children are just too big to try to deal with, and maybe the only thing we can do is just shut the doors of our own home and try to deal with what goes on there. But we have to do that as well.
So Im very encouraged by the conversation that we had this morning, and Im very excited about the prospects for this national campaign. And I hope that everyone, everyone in America, will realize that theres a role for each of us in trying to prevent youth violence. And more than thattrying to reach out and listen to our children so that we can provide the kind of support that they need.
And someone who has known that and done it in her own life, and done it in our public life for many years, who has continually addressed the issue of mental health and particularly how it affects childrensomeone who I admire greatly and who will be chairing the first ever White House Conference on Mental Health on June 7 -- and that is Tipper Gore. (Applause.)
MRS. GORE: Thank you very much, Mrs. Clinton .