When violence against black males rose to such heights that it dominated news and spurred national protests, Cities United was ready. The organization of more than 80 mayors across the country had long since recognized the troubling trends and put into motion plans to curb it.

It was #fierceurgency16 well before a national crisis of violence forced it urgently into the public eye.

Cities United was launched in 2011 to address rising violence against black men and boys and the ripple effect it has throughout American cities. The organization’s goal is reduce violence by 50 percent by the year 2025.

“We are committed to realizing the promise of healthy and vibrant cities where all our families and neighbors can thrive,” Cities United Executive Director Anthony Smith said.

A central strategy is to target high-risk communities and engage black males in the process of finding solutions. These at-risk citizens are disproportionately impacted by violence and other systemic barriers that prevent them from succeeding in life.

“For our cities to prosper, we must improve life outcomes and expand opportunities for all our young people and residents,” Smith said.

Consider these statistics:

  • The leading cause of death for African-American men and boys, age 10-24, is homicide. They experience homicides at more than four times the rate of all other men and boys in the U.S.
  • Black male high school dropouts are 38 times more likely to be incarcerated than their peers with a four-year degree.
  • One in three young African American men will serve time in prison if current trends continue.

Part of Cities United comprehensive strategy to curb violence is confronting the structural and physical violence facing black males. It continues that effort on Aug. 3 with a dedicated session in the #InclusiveAmerica National Association of Black Journalists’ Learning Lab powered by ScaleUp Partners.


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DESCRIPTION: Mayors of cities are uniting to address structural and physical violence. Systemic scarcity in communities of color heightens community stress and fuels derivative physical violence. These mayors are engaged in solution-oriented efforts, making incremental progress and producing promising stories that inspire and empower. This session will introduce to journalists collaborative cities and efforts working to improve access to 21st-century resources in low-opportunity communities of color and improve the lives of their residents.

Opening By Anthony Smith, CEO, Cities United

Panel Co-moderators: Erica Atwood, CEO, First Degree Consulting; Mike Green, Co-founder, ScaleUp Partners


Learn more about the Learning Lab and how to register here.

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