August 21, 2017 -  Fort Wayne UNITED will participate in the 2017 Cities United Convening Aug. 23-25 in Minneapolis.

The theme for this year’s convening is “United for Change, a Roadmap to Safe, Healthy and Hopeful Communities.” The event will provide coaching and capacity­-building strategies to cities committed to making sure black men and boys and their families are living in communities that are safe, healthy and hopeful.

Cities United is a national movement focused on eliminating the violence in American cities related to black men and boys.

Iric Headley, Joe Jordan, Derrick Westfield and Orlando Smith will represent Fort Wayne UNITED at the convening. The Fort Wayne UNITED initiative is continuing proactive efforts to enhance opportunities, advance youth advocacy and help ensure the safety of all residents with a focus on black men and boys.

Headley will be part of a panel discussion to highlight how cities across the country can use Fort Wayne UNITED as a model for starting similar initiatives.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to share Fort Wayne’s story with a national audience,” said Headley, director, Fort Wayne UNITED. “We’re working each day to make a lasting and meaningful difference in the lives of residents in Fort Wayne.”

Fort Wayne UNITED is a mayoral initiative started by Mayor Tom Henry in 2016. It places two national efforts, Cities United and My Brother’s Keeper, into one program to make a meaningful difference with an emphasis on listening, input, letting voices be heard, and engagement.

The 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 community through collaborative efforts.

Goals to lead to positive outcomes include engagement of black men and boys, the community, policymakers, philanthropic community, and data gathering.

Criminal justice, non-profit, clergy, health, and education leaders, along with representatives from the Fort Wayne Police Department are part of the Fort Wayne UNITED Steering Committee that’s working to make Fort Wayne the best community possible and move Fort Wayne UNITED forward.