Cities United Convening in Knoxville Aug. 22-24

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
News item

Cities United Convening in Knoxville Aug. 22-24

Posted: 08/13/2018
On August 22-24, 2018, more than 300 mayors, youth and community leaders will gather in Knoxville, Tennessee, to share effective strategies for reducing the homicide and shooting rates of young Black men and boys in the nation’s cities in half by 2025.

“We are honored to host mayors and their teams from across the country that share Knoxville’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of our young men and boys of color,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “Our partnership with Cities United has helped us develop our Save our Sons initiative to reduce violence and create opportunities for our City’s sons. I look forward to hosting the 2018 Cities United Convening in Knoxville and sharing ideas.”

The 2018 Cities United Convening, Uniting Leaders for Change, is a three-day gathering providing coaching and capacity-building strategies for planning, implementation and evaluation of comprehensive public safety strategies, that are grounded in equity, social justice, innovation, collaboration and youth voice. Mayors and their teams will engage in peer-to-peer learning focused on issues such as workforce development, criminal justice reform, youth-adult partnerships development and building healthy relationships between police and communities.

“Our 5th Annual Convening will celebrate and honor our past while uplifting our milestones and progress on the road to meeting our goal to reduce the homicide and shooting rates of Black men and boys in half by 2025,” said Anthony Smith, executive director of Cities United. “We know that to effectively address the violence that robs our cities of our young Black men and boys, all corners of a community must come together. We are inspired by so many leaders from across our country committed to our cause, and to making a real impact in their cities.”

The convening will also provide an opportunity for city leaders from other parts of the nation to visit successful initiatives in Knoxville, including the new Change Center that will provide young people with a safe place to go for entertainment, community and mentorship.

With over 130 mayors in its network, Cities United equips mayors and local leaders with the tools, skills and resources needed to reduce community violence by providing concrete support. Cities United recently hosted the final session of its year-long Roadmap Academy with mayors from 24 cities, including Houston, TX, Knoxville, TN, Baltimore, MD and Columbia, SC, coming together with community partners to create and implement a centralized, local plan to reduce violence and improve life outcomes for young Black men and boys.

Homicides are the leading cause of death for young Black men and boys aged 15 to 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. Mayors and city leaders are uniquely positioned to identify innovative and effective solutions to address this community violence.

The 2018 convening is being sponsored by Casey Family Programs, Campaign for Black Male Achievement, The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, Executives’ Alliance, the Langeloth Foundation, The Walmart Foundation, The City of Knoxville and local and national partners


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 over 130 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.