Cities United

Cities United is a national partnership to eliminate violence-related deaths of African-American males.

Cities United

Nowhere is America's crisis of violence more evident than in African-American communities, where homicide is the leading cause of death for males between the ages of 15 and 24.  Yet, while there are a number of mainstream efforts underway to address America's violence epidemic, few specifically target the plight of African-American males who are the victims of violence.

Launched in 2011 under the leadership of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Cities United asks mayors to target the highest-risk neighborhoods and engage African-American males in finding solutions to end the violence.  The initiative will help mayors focus on prevention rather than prosecution, intervention rather than incarceration.  For mayors who join, Cities United will:

  • Supply research and other information on violence-related deaths;
  • Provide access to consultants who can assist, develop and implement solutions to violent crime;
  • Assist them in gaining support from leaders of federal and state agencies, philanthropic and civic organizations and other stakeholder groups;
  • Connect local officials with representatives from other cities that have implemented successful violence-reducing strategies;
  • Encourage accountability through community involvement, commitment to evidence-based practices and rigorous evaluation;
  • Coordinate annual meetings where city teams can share their challenges and successes, learn about new models and methodologies, interact with youth and leaders from other cities and allow mayors to engage in facilitated sessions with each other; and
  • Coordinate an annual “Youth Committed to Eliminating Violence” summit where young black males and other youth can speak to national and local leaders about building successful violence prevention efforts and learn conflict resolution and critical decision-making skills.

To learn how your city can join Cities United, contact Jerrilyn Black, Senior Associate for Youth Violence Prevention, at or (202) 626-3128.

Founding and Current Partners

In addition to NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families, philanthropic, governmental and nonprofit organizations supporting Cities United and its mission include: Open Society Foundations, Casey Family Programs, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Student Peace Alliance, Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, G-L.A.W. Outertainment, Forum for Youth Investment, Youth in Action, Mikva Challenge, Temple University School of Medicine, CureViolence, FosterSkills, Anti-Violence Anti-Drug Network, Association of Black Foundation Executives, Grantmakers for Children, Youth & Families, National Urban League and U.S. Conference of Mayors.  Cities United also partners with the U.S. Department of Justice and will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies.