An epidemic of violence: The Cities United partnership confronts the violence affecting African American men and boys
Every 24 hours in America, 14 young men and boys are gunned down on the streets of our cities. Homicide is the leading cause of death for African American males between the ages of 10 and 24. Black people are victims of nearly half of all homicides in the United States, although they account for only 13 percent of the population. The homicide rate for African American males aged 10-24 years-old is 60.7 per 100,000. The homicide rate for white males in the same age group is 3.5 per 100,000.
Mayors have the power and the responsibility to help end this senseless loss of life. Under the Leadership of Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Cities United will assist mayors and municipal leaders in combating the epidemic of violence now obliterating African American men and boys.
To create healthier, safer, more hopeful communities, Cities United asks mayors to target the highest-risk neighborhoods and engage with African American males to find a solution and end the violence. Cities United will help mayors focus on prevention rather than prosecution, intervention rather than incarceration.
Cities United provides mayors across the country with the data and tools to share with community leaders, families, youth and others to join in the efforts to reduce the number of homicides in their cities.
For mayors who join, Cities United will:
- Supply research and other information on violence-related deaths.
- Provide access to consultants who can assist, develop and implement solutions to violent crime.
- Assist in gaining support from leaders of federal and state agencies, philanthropic and civic organizations and other stakeholder groups.
- Connect local officials with representatives from other cities that have implemented successful violence-reducing strategies.
- Encourage accountability through community involvement, commitment to evidence-based practices, and rigorous evaluation.
- Coordinate annual meetings where city teams can share their challenges and successes; learn about new models and methodologies; interact with youth and leaders from other cities; and allow mayors to engage in facilitated sessions with each other.
- Coordinate an annual “Youth Committed to Eliminating Violence” summit where young black males and other youth can speak to national and local leaders about building successful violence prevention efforts; learn conflict resolution and critical decision-making.
Violence on our streets is more than a senseless waste of life; it robs our neighborhoods of badly needed resources that could be better utilized to create educational and economic opportunities for every young person.
“Our playgrounds have become battlegrounds. Our streets have become cemeteries. Our schools have become places to mourn the ones we’ve lost.”
– President Obama
Founding and current partners
Some of the nation’s most respected philanthropic, governmental and nonprofit organizations support Cities United and its mission, including: The Open Society Foundations, Casey Family Programs, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the National League of Cities, Student Peace Alliance, Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, G-L.A.W. Outertainment, Forum for Youth Investment, Youth in Action, Mikva Challenge, Temple University School of Medicine, CureViolence, FosterSkills, Anti-Violence Anti-Drug Network, Association of Black Foundation Executives, Grantmakers for Children, Youth & Families, The National Urban League and U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Cities United also partners with the U.S. Department of Justice and will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies.