September 29, 2020 - Today, Fort Wayne UNITED, in partnership with Mayor Tom Henry, Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Sweetwater Sound, the United Way of Allen County, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Fort Wayne Fire Department, Fort Wayne Police Department, Parkview Health, the Black Chamber of Commerce, Greater Fort Wayne Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the NewAllen Alliance, announced Fort Wayne UNITED’s new initiative—United Front.
In the country's current climate of racial tension and civil unrest, Fort Wayne UNITED is again well positioned to provide support through the creation of a comprehensive program for cultural competency training, racial healing, and unity.
The goal of the United Front Initiative is to bring the community of Fort Wayne together to attain racial healing, equity, education, and organizational transformation by developing shared knowledge and understanding around various topics related to diversity and inclusion. Educational sessions will be offered to Fort Wayne organizations and businesses in order to empower them with the ability to value diversity, assess their environments, and implement interventions that will enhance their inclusive cultures, motivating people to work together toward community shared goals.
Several donations, including a $250,000 matching grant to fund the United Front Initiative, were announced at the event. Donors include: Ruoff Mortgage, JP Morgan Chase, Sweetwater Sound, Youth for Christ, AEP, Waterfield Mortgage, Summit City Chevrolet, Vera Bradley, Promus Equity Partners, Foellinger Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.
Educational sessions will be conducted by Dr. Pascal Losambe and will feature his comprehensive curriculum designed to educate, equip, and empower organizations to embrace inclusion and transform their cultures.
Sessions 1-3: Implicit Bias & Microaggressions
Sessions 7-9: Allyship & Active Bystanders
What Is Allyship?
Privilege, Power, and Position
Actions of an Ally
Sessions 4-6: Stress of Minorities
High Context Individuals
Sessions 10-12: Difficult Conversations
Facing the Fears of Open Dialogue
Approach to Having Difficult Conversations
Dinner of Great Conversations
Dr. Losambe has a Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Middlebury College (VT) and a Master’s of Science Degree in Biology from Boston College where he received the Donald J. White award for teaching excellence. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Purdue University with a focus on cultural competence. Additionally, he serves on regional diversity boards, has led strategic vision initiatives for various institutions, and has conducted multiple workshops on cultural competence at national and international conferences.
More information about United Front educational sessions is available at FWUnitedFront.com.
“Unfortunately, we can’t change the history of this country when it comes to racial injustice. Racial discrimination toward people of color happened and will continue to happen if we do not appropriately combat it. Right now, we have a unique opportunity to make a difference,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m looking forward to being part of this very important initiative to bring our community together – to form a United Front to combat racism and enhance inclusion.”
“Ruoff Mortgage recognizes that our community has a lot of opportunity to facilitate discussions and implement actions on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. That's why we are committed to not only help fund United Front's initiatives, but also by committing ourselves on a professional and personal level,” said Mark Music, President & CEO, Ruoff Mortgage. “We are committed to engaging our key leadership folks who are closely connected to our company's internal recruitment and development strategies. Beyond that, we also hope to play a critical role in encouraging other local business and community leaders to collectively join us in this effort of leveling the playing field for those who have been marginalized.”
Fort Wayne UNITED is a Mayoral initiative that places two national efforts, Cities United and My Brother's Keeper, under one umbrella. It is designed to answer the call to enhance opportunities, advance youth advocacy and help create a safer city for all, but more specifically for black men and boys. By bringing together a group of passionate and committed leaders, the initiative will educate, inform and engage the community in an effort to make positive change one neighborhood at a time.
Fort Wayne UNITED’s vision is for every black male in Fort Wayne to be respected and valued with an opportunity to reach their full potential. The mission is to advocate for and implement policies, practices and procedures to ensure equity and opportunity for black fathers, brothers and sons at home, work, school, and the community through collaborative efforts.