NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seventeen mayors and more than 200 city leaders from 37 municipalities nationwide joined together today in New Orleans, La. for the inaugural Cities United convening. The national movement aims to reduce the tragic number of violence-related deaths of young African American men and boys. The two-day working session, hosted at the New Orleans Marriott from February 26-27, 2014, will help guide Cities United's effort to restore hope and opportunities to young men and boys directly affected by violence.
"In Philadelphia, young African American men and boys are 80 percent of the homicide victims and 75 percent of all the arrests we make for violent crime," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "Across America, black victims are nearly half of all homicides even though they are only 13 percent of the population. Those numbers are staggering and cannot be ignored. The future of our nation depends on safe, prosperous communities where everyone has an opportunity to feel safe and succeed. Cities United helps mayors and city leaders focus on prevention rather than prosecution, intervention rather than incarceration, and provides data and tools to topple systemic barriers to opportunity facing African American men and boys. Together, we can expand support and intervention for these young men to prevent – and possibly even end – the violence in our cities."
"Cities United is an important platform for mayors and cities to bring attention to the importance of young African American men and to share ideas about how to tackle the pressing epidemic of violence," added New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "By implementing a comprehensive approach, we are having early success in New Orleans. But one murder is too many, and we will not rest until we come together as a country to address these issues."
The conference features a number of prominent speakers, including: Karol V. Mason, assistant attorney general, Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice; Dr. William C. Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs; Professor Pedro Noguera, executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools; and Shawn Dove, manager of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement.
In breakout sessions, participants will tackle topics that include: Effective Strategies for Engaging Black Men; Rethinking Juvenile Justice; Restorative Justice: A Tool for Community Healing; Educating for a Strong Community; Leveraging Philanthropic Partnerships; and Integrated Response for Long-Term Impact.
Cities United was launched under the leadership of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu with support from National League of Cities, Casey Family Programs and Open Society Foundations.
Since the 2011 launch, Cities United has forged a growing network of 56 mayors working to equip local leaders with the tools, practices, skills and resources needed to effectively eliminate the violence-related deaths of African American men and boys. The initiative is headquartered at the National League of Cities' (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education and Families.
About Cities United Cities United is a national movement to equip mayors and local leaders with the tools, practices, skills and resources needed to effectively eliminate the violence-related deaths of African American men and boys. Cities United was launched in 2011 under the leadership of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu with support from the National League of Cities, Casey Family Programs and the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Additional support comes from the Ford Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation.