February 27, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement of the “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative
“As the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia and a co-founder of Cities United, I stand with President Obama in pledging to do all that I can to stop the violence against African American men and boys. In Philadelphia, young African-American men and boys are 80% of the homicide victims and 75% of all the arrests we make for violent crime.
“Across America, African American victims are nearly half of all homicides even though they are only 13% of the population. Those numbers are staggering and cannot be ignored. The future of our nation depends on safe, prosperous communities where everyone has an opportunity to feel safe and succeed.
“With the launch of President Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative, we are hopeful that the federal government will join mayors and Cities United as a strong partner in efforts to implement practical, results-driven strategies that ensure that young African American men and boys are on equal footing with their peers and have the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Through Cities United, which convened more than 200 people, 19 mayors and 37 organizations for an inaugural conference in New Orleans this week, mayors and local leaders are working to create safer and healthier communities by investing in commonsense solutions such as increasing job training and educational opportunities. In too many of our cities, those opportunities are lacking, and community violence is devastating young lives.
“As Mayor, as a father, and as a Black man, I support all efforts to bring visibility and solutions to support Black males who are disproportionately affected by high rates of violent crime, incarceration and unemployment, and I look forward to working with President Obama and the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative. Together, we can expand support and intervention for these young men to prevent – and possibly even end – the violence in our cities. ”
Cities United is a national movement to equip mayors and local leaders with the tools, practices, skills and resources needed to effectively eliminate the violence-related deaths of African American men and boys. Cities United was launched in 2011 under the leadership of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu with support from the National League of Cities, Casey Family Programs and the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Additional support comes from the Ford Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation.