Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is joining mayors and city leaders from across the country in New Orleans today for the inaugural Cities United meeting to explore solutions aimed at reducing the tragic number of violence-related deaths of young African American men and boys.
The two-day working session brings together 225 local officials and staff from 37 cities, including 20 mayors, to develop a plan of action that will end homicide as the leading cause of death for African American males between the ages of 15 and 24 with a goal of reducing the number of deaths by 50 percent. Seven homicide victims in the city in the last two years fall within that age range.
Pawlowski is joined at the conference by Allentown Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald. “As leaders, our greatest responsibility is protecting the safety and prosperity of the city and our residents,” Pawlowski said. “That means preventing violence and investing in the opportunities that we all need to feel better about our future. We all have a stake in keeping our streets and our young people safe, and in strengthening the city so that everyone can achieve their full potential,” said Pawlowski.
Through his participation in the meeting, Pawlowski will help guide the Cities United movement and its work to restore hope and opportunities to young men and boys directly affected by violence. Topics covered include effective strategies for engaging black men; rethinking juvenile justice; restorative justice as a tool for community healing; educating for a strong community; leveraging philanthropic partnerships; and developing strategies that ensure a long-term impact.
The conference features a number of prominent speakers, including: Professor Pedro Noguera, executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools; Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink; and Karol Mason, Assistant Attorney General of the United States.
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 it launched in 2011, Cities United has forged a growing network of 56 mayors working to equip local elected officials 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.