NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Mayor Bill de Blasio and his task force on racial inclusion and equity have announced four initiatives to engage the city’s youth this summer.

“There has been trauma after trauma in this pandemic for our young people, and we have to help them find a way forward,” the mayor said Thursday.

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City Council leaders are pushing to save the Summer Youth Employment Program from coronavirus-related budget cuts.

In the meantime, the mayor and his task force unveiled other initiatives Thursday.

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The first program, called NeON (Neighborhood Opportunity Network) Summer, offers paid remote learning opportunities for teens and young adults in the communities that were hit the hardest by the pandemic. The goal is to reach 2,700 young people between the ages of 14 and 24.

“We’re going to focus on recruiting young people who are under probation, supervision, or are otherwise engaged with the family court,” Deputy Mayor J. Philip Thompson said. “So this is really reaching at-risk young people.”

The second initiative, called Each One Teach One, encourages participants to create media campaigns that promote social distancing. Thompson said 120 young people will be connected with mentors and receive stipends for their work.

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The Community Crisis Response Initiative will provide $220,000 to 22 community-based youth organizations to support their ongoing relief efforts and help young people develop leadership skills in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Thompson said the programs are expected to reach a total of 3,300 youth.

Finally, the NYPD and Cure Violence leaders will hold a series of town hall meetings, starting in Harlem as soon as in-person gatherings are allowed to take place. They will also be held in East New York and Brownsville, Brooklyn; Jamaica and Far Rockaway, Queens; the South Bronx and North Shore of Staten Island.

“We want an honest conversation. Look, the more we talk openly in this city, the better off we’ll be,” said de Blasio. “It’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes there will be emotion – to say the least — about the power of these issues. But the more we talk, the more we open it up, the more we air it out, the better off we’ll be.

“So we want to address these issues head-on. We don’t want to sweep them under the rug,” he added. “That will not help move us forward.”

During Thursday’s briefing, the task force also shared a plan to revitalize restaurants, particularly in communities of color and immigrant neighborhoods.

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