Philadelphia, November 24, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the departure of Erica Atwood, senior aide in the Mayor’s Office of External Affairs and Director of Black Male Engagement initiatives for the City of Philadelphia. In this role, Ms. Atwood was instrumental in the implementation of Mayor Nutter’s agenda on Black Men and Boys, including the creation of Cities United in 2011; the creation and completion of the Joe Frazier statue in South Philadelphia; and the management of the Mayor’s Champions Fund, coordinating the City’s first Pop Warner Championship parade for the North Philly Blackhawks football team.
“Erica has been a champion for communities in Philadelphia during her time with the City,” said Mayor Nutter. “From serving men and boys of color through the Mayor’s Commission on African-American Males and Cities United to her tireless efforts to promote our great city in the Office of the City Representative, she has been an advocate for all Philadelphians. I know she will bring this same level of enthusiasm and passion to her next role working with Cities United and other black male engagement initiatives.”
Ms. Atwood is launching a consulting firm, First Degree Consulting, with the mission of working to better connect the public, private and philanthropic sectors with grassroots communities, and to create equitable spaces that inform and educate to create measurable action around reducing disparities in communities of color.
“I will be eternally grateful to Mayor Nutter for the opportunities for growth and leadership this experience afforded me. And even in our most challenging moments, these last 8 years has been amazingly rewarding and life changing,” said Ms. Atwood. “I have been able to align my purpose, dismantling the systemic barriers for Black people, with my everyday job. This is a dream most do not get the chance to see in a lifetime and I did it by 40. I am excited to be able to leverage my passion, skills, and abilities to further the racial equity agenda, not only locally, but nationally.”
Before coming to the Mayor’s Office, Ms. Atwood served as Deputy City Representative in the Office of the City Representative. In that role, she re-established relationships between local consulate offices and the Mayor’s Office; served on the team that produced the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies World Series Parade; presented on behalf of the City for the inclusion of the United States bid for the FIFA World Cup; and developed and promoted three new city events: a city-wide nine week concert series, a City Hall film festival, and the Badges of Honor 5K Race in support of fallen public safety officers.
As a new consultant, Ms. Atwood will work closely with Cities United CEO, Anthony Smith, to implement a youth leadership engagement strategy, provide technical assistance to member cities to advance their black male engagement initiatives, develop social media and rapid response protocols, and develop the agenda for the 2016 Cities United National Convening taking place in Birmingham, Alabama in May.