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Issue No. 1

The mayoral candidates explain how they'll help the city's at-risk youth.


In 2003, there were 94 local homicide victims — 78 percent of whom were black men. Of them, 45 were 30 years old or younger.

The Richmond Department of Juvenile Justice Services worked last year with 1,573 youth younger than 18. The group was 71 percent male, nearly 95 percent black. The majority were black men between the ages of 14 and 17.

The police chief called for help and attention to the issue of gangs, which he said drew a majority of black men in their teens and early 20s. Gov. Mark Warner launched a statewide Preventing Crime in Virginia's Minority Communities initiative in November 2003.

Style Weekly took stock of the city's landscape, talking to those in the trenches, and in January identified at-risk youth — in particular, the young black male — as the city's collective and symbolic "Richmonder of the Year."

Later, in looking to the year ahead, Richmond Mayor Rudolph "Rudy" C. McCollum Jr. labeled 2004 as the "Year of the Youth."

Officials have marshaled efforts and billions of dollars in investment to boost economic development. Still, crime continues to mount, schools must struggle to keep kids in class, and public safety — real or perceived — remains compromised.

We asked each of the four mayoral candidates the same question: As mayor, what will you do to address Richmond's at-risk and often overlooked youth?

The candidates...

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