Cities United Launches Its Roadmap to Safe, Healthy & Hopeful Communities Academy to Address Violence Against Young Black Men and Boys

Feb 20, 2018


February 20, 2018


Media Contact:

Debayani Kar, [email protected], 510-356-7733


Cities United Launches Its Roadmap to Safe, Healthy & Hopeful Communities Academy to Address Violence Against Young Black Men and Boys

Year-Long Program Will Accelerate City-Level Comprehensive Public Safety Plans


Louisville, KY—Today, Cities United’s launched its first annual Roadmap to Safe, Healthy & Hopeful Communities Academy to partner with mayors and city leaders from across the country who will come together to accelerate their comprehensive public safety plans that will establish safer, healthier and more hopeful cities for everyone. The Roadmap Academy is a year-long engagement with invited mayors, their teams and community partners designed to provide the coaching and capacity building needed to lay the groundwork and launch a comprehensive public safety plan in each city. The Academy will provide hands-on opportunities to share promising practices, exchange data and case studies and implement a plan to reduce violence and improve life outcomes for young African American men and boys.


“For our cities to prosper, we must improve life outcomes and expand opportunities for all our young people and residents,” said Mayor Madeline Rogero of Knoxville, TN. “This includes creating opportunities and establishing safe neighborhoods for our young Black boys and men who currently face greater barriers to surviving and thriving. Cities United’s newly launched Roadmap Academy comes at the right time, allowing Knoxville to deepen our efforts to establish lasting public safety by equipping us with invaluable tools and resources to develop and carry out our plan.”


Cities United is a growing, national network of more than 100 mayors established to cut the homicide rate that affects young Black men and boys in half by the year 2025. The mayors involved in Cities United bring together all corners of the community—city agencies, businesses, faith leaders, public safety officials, community members and young people most impacted by violence—to implement a comprehensive strategy to countering violence.


“We need a new blueprint for 21st century public safety that lights a path to real hope and opportunity for all young people,” said Anthony Smith, Executive Director of Cities United. “We’re excited to launch the new Roadmap Academy to provide a practical forum for mayors and city leaders to accelerate their city-level comprehensive public safety plans that will tackle all the interlocking factors that allow shootings and homicides to persist in our communities.”


The numbers are stark. Homicides are the leading cause of death for young Black men and boys aged 15-24. Their experience with violence—whether as victim, survivor or witness—sets them apart from nearly every other demographic group, including Black men older than 24, white men and Black women and girls.


In addition to the devastating impact on young Black men themselves, violence inflicts trauma on entire families, neighborhoods and communities. The economic costs are also staggering. The CDC estimates that homicides cost the U.S. economy $26.4 billion every year in medical and work loss costs.


Mayors and city leaders are uniquely positioned to develop and lead comprehensive approaches to addressing violence that are grounded in social justice, equity, youth voice, collaboration and innovation – while also investing resources into quality education, building an inclusive economy and engaging youth and families as part of the solution.


Developing a comprehensive city-level public safety plan requires strong leadership and planning and systems change and will not happen overnight. The Roadmap Academy will help cities focus their process and provides steps that will help cities engage stakeholders from all walks of life, focusing on those most impacted by community violence.

During the Academy, mayors, city leaders and community partners will participate in:

  • A week-long Planning Lab
  • City-level assessments
  • Team and one-on-onecoaching, content from experts and peer-to-peer networking
  • Mayors’-only meetings to highlight what’s working
  • 5th Annual Convening in Knoxville, TN
  • Showcase and exchange of comprehensive public safety plans


ABOUT CITIES UNITED: Cities United was launched in 2011 by former Philadelphia Mayor, Michael A. Nutter, and Casey Family Programs President and CEO, Dr. William C. Bell, who partnered with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, 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 young African American men and boys. Today, this movement has grown to 121 mayors (and counting) 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.



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