Mayors, Youth and Community Leaders to Convene in Minneapolis to Share Strategies on How to Keep Young Black Men and Boys Safe, Healthy and Hopeful 
Mayor Hodges Joins Fourth Annual Cities United Convening to Spotlight Leadership, Strategies That Will Create Safe, Healthy and Hopeful Communities for All

Minneapolis, MN—As the nation debates the issue of violent crime in cities and what it will take to make communities truly safe, U.S. mayors, young leaders and city leaders will gather in Minneapolis, MN, from August 23-25 to share ideas and solutions on how to effectively reduce violence against young Black men and boys and create safe, healthy and hopeful communities for all.
“We are proud to welcome mayors from across the country to spur innovation and investment that will transform the lives of our young people, particularly our young Black and Native men and boys,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis, MN. “Young people are the lifeblood of our communities and we risk our own futures if we fail to invest in them. Here in Minneapolis we have directed $500,000 to community-driven public safety strategies that respond directly to needs identified by youth and residents. We look forward to sharing best practices and lessons learned with mayors and community leaders.”
The 2017 Cities United convening, United for Change: Roadmap to Safe, Healthy and Hopeful Communities (#UnitedforChange), is a three-day gathering that will provide cities with peer-to-peer learning opportunities to accelerate efforts to reduce violence and improve outcomes for young African American men and boys across the United States. The convening will also feature a Founders Awards Ceremony, recognizing mayors and city, youth, philanthropy and nonprofit leaders who are providing unwavering commitment and innovative solutions to address this urgent crisis.
“Cities United’s mission—to mobilize the leadership of mayors in cities across the United States in reducing violence against young Black men and boys and maximize their talents and potential—remains as urgent as ever. We cannot afford to lose any more of our young people,” said Anthony Smith, executive director of Cities United. “We need a new blueprint for 21st century public safety that lights a path to real hope and opportunity for all young people. Violence is intimately connected to other systemic factors in our neighborhoods—poverty, limited opportunity, lack of social or economic investments. To truly address violence, we must put sustained attention on all of these systemic factors across neighborhoods and in cities.”
The convening will showcase examples of how cities such as Minneapolis are using a comprehensive, public health approach to addressing violence by investing resources into quality education, building an inclusive economy, addressing trauma in communities impacted by violence and engaging youth and families as part of the solution.
Mayor Betsy Hodges launched the Collaborative Public Safety Strategies program last August to direct $500,000 to two communities that have been most harmed by violence, Little Earth and the West Broadway corridor in north Minneapolis. The city solicited ideas from youth and community for how to create safe, healthy and hopeful neighborhoods and selected eleven strategies for implementation beginning in summer 2017.
Rates of violence against young Black boys and men remain unacceptably high. Homicide is the leading cause of death for African American men and boys age 10-24. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, homicide rates also disproportionately impact young Native American men and boys. The CDC estimates that reducing violence by 50 percent will save over $35 billion in annual medical and lost productivity costs alone. Convening leaders will tackle strategies that can build safe, healthy and hopeful communities for all young people.
The 2017 convening is being sponsored by Casey Family Programs, the Langeloth Foundation, the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement and local and national partners. With over 100 mayors in its network, Cities United equips mayors and local leaders with the tools, practices, skills and resources needed to effectively eliminate violence against young African American men and boys, while increasing their educational and employment outcomes.
Media interested in attending should RSVP to Eric Fought,, or Jerome Rankine,, by August 19, 2017. For those unable to attend, the convening will be livestreamed.
WHO:        Mayors, philanthropy and community leaders from throughout the U.S.
·         The City of Minneapolis – Mayor Betsy Hodges
·         Campaign for Black Male Achievement – Shawn Dove, founding member
·         Cities United – Anthony Smith
·         Casey Family Programs – Dr. William C. Bell, founding member
·         Former Mayor of Philadelphia – Michael Nutter, founding member
·         Young leaders
WHEN:            Wednesday, August 23 – Friday, August 25, 2017

Aug. 23, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Candid Conversation with Mayors
• Michael A. Nutter, former Mayor, City of Philadelphia (moderator)
• Mayor Betsy Hodges, City of Minneapolis
• Mayor Greg Fischer, City of Louisville
• Andre Canty, City of Knoxville
• Anthony Smith, Cities United
• Luz María Frías, YWCA Minneapolis
• Minneapolis young leader (name forthcoming)

Aug. 24, 10:00-10:45 a.m. Mayors' Press Conference
• Mayor Betsy Hodges, City of Minneapolis
• Michael A. Nutter, former Mayor, City of Philadelphia
• Anthony Smith, Cities United
• Malcom Reed, City of Durham and Youth United
• Shawn Dove, Campaign for Black Male Achievement

WHERE:       Marriott City Center
                        30 South 7th Street
                        Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cities United was launched in 2011 by former Philadelphia Mayor, Michael Nutter, who partnered with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Casey Family Programs President and CEO, Dr. William C. Bell, Campaign for Black Male Achievement CEO, Shawn Dove and the National League of Cities to forge a national network of communities focused on eliminating violence in American cities related to African American men and boys. Today, this movement has grown to 100 mayors committed to working with community leaders, families, youth, philanthropic organizations and other stakeholders to cut the homicide rate of our young Black men and boys in half by the year 2025. These mayors are focused on restoring hope to their communities and building pathways to justice, employment, education and increased opportunities for residents. For more information: Twitter: @CitiesUnited.

Published Aug 16, 2017



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