CITY TO REAFFIRM CITIES UNITED PARTNERSHIP TO IMPROVE LIVES AND REDUCE VIOLENCE
Under the leadership of Mayor Jeri Muoio and with support of Cities United, Coordinator of Community Initiatives Kevin Jones has been implementing the Mayor’s Village Initiative to create opportunity and reduce violence in the North End of the City.
WHO: West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, Coordinator of Community Initiatives Kevin Jones, Cities United CEO Anthony Smith
WHEN: Thursday, November 9, 2017; 3pm
WHERE: City Hall; 2nd floor lobby
WHAT: The City of West Palm Beach, the West Palm Beach Police Department, and Cities United will reaffirm their special partnership to improve outcomes of young African American men and boys and reduce violence in West Palm Beach’s North End. The City began its partnership with Cities United in 2014.
Cities United is focused on eliminating the violence in American cities related to African American men and boys. Mayor Muoio and more than 90 other mayors participating in Cities United intend to reduce homicides in their cities by 50% by the year 2025. Moreover, they are committed to restoring hope to the community and building pathways to justice, employment, education and increased opportunities for residents.
Under the leadership of Mayor Jeri Muoio and with support of Cities United, Coordinator of Community Initiatives Kevin Jones has been implementing the Mayor’s Village Initiative to create opportunity and reduce violence in the North End of the City. The “village” consists of government agencies, businesses, concerned citizens, the faith community, non-profits, philanthropy, and schools. The City acts as an umbrella to pull together its vast resources to help address this issue.
Current programs under the Mayor’s Village Initiative include:
- · Community & Police Dialogues/Kids & Cops Workshops: The Community & Police dialogues consist of four to five week conversations between police officers, community residents, and community social service providers. The Kids & Cops Workshops are opportunities for the youth to express their thoughts and feelings about their relationships with law enforcement. Additionally, it allows the young men to hear from police officers about their roles in the community. The goal of these workshops is to build relationships and improve communication between youth and law enforcement.
· Workforce Development Program: The goal of this program is to connect African American residents to employment and to assist them in overcoming any barriers to obtaining employment. Educational institutions, community groups, and members of the private sector support this program. Many jobs require training, and it is our goal that we make training available for the residents knowing that--at the end of their training--a job is waiting.
· Neighborhood Accountability Board (NAB): Facilitated out of the Pleasant City Youth Empowerment Center, the goal of NAB is for first-time misdemeanor juvenile offenders to repair the harm that was caused in the community. Based on the principles of restorative justice, a conference of the offender, their parents, the victim (if they want to attend), and a board of trained neighborhood volunteers address the offense and agree on appropriate sanctions. The youth has approximately 90 days to successfully complete their assigned sanctions so that the offense will not be on their record.
· Operation Youth Violence: Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention (RIP): Developed by the West Palm Beach Police Department, this program provides first time felony offenders ages 13-24 with the necessary resources and mentoring in hopes that they will become productive members of the community. These youth are offered the opportunity to enroll in GED programs, job readiness courses, counseling, and subsidized employment. These services are provided through the Urban League of Palm Beach County and the Pleasant City Youth Empowerment Center.
· Peace in the Streets Walks: Each month, concerned citizens, elected officials and WPBPD walk three distinct neighborhoods in the North End to promote Peace in the Streets and to engage with residents. This is an opportunity for dialogue on how we can collectively make our communities safer.