To ensure a West Palm Beach where all African American males are safe, empowered and secure.
The Mayor’s Village Initiative is a City of West Palm Beach effort to improve the experiences of young African American males 25 years old and younger living in the Historic Northwest, Coleman Park and Pleasant City. These three neighborhoods located in the north end of West Palm Beach are disproportionately impacted by violence, crime, and social/economic disadvantages.
The Mayor’s Village Initiative is guided by three main principles: Collective Impact, Racial Equity, and Asset Based Community Development.
WHY IS MVI NEEDED?
Youth Violence in West Palm Beach
- Collective Impact is the practice of impacting systems and policies to improve wellbeing. Through cross sector collaboration, citizens and leaders can address a variety of challenges facing communities, such as poverty, homelessness, and education. The Collective Impact framework contains five core conditions: (1) develop a common agenda; (2) share measurements to understand progress; (3) build on mutually reinforcing activities; (4) engage in continuous communications; and (5) provide a backbone structure. The Mayor’s Village Initiative recognizes Collective Impact as a useful framework to engage multiple stakeholders to work toward sustainably reducing youth violence and promoting better outcomes for African American boys and men.
- Racial Equity is a commitment to understanding, recognizing, and combating systemic race inequities. Racism is a strong, ever-present force that has structured the thinking, behavior, and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of U.S. history. The Mayor’s Village Initiative is committed to promoting racial equity in all its programs and services to best serve the African American males in the North End of the city.
- Asset Based Community Development is an approach to community development based on strengths and potential. This type of community development moves away from what a community lacks, to focus on what a community possesses. Resources, skills, and experiences of the community are assessed and organized to support the best course of action for that community. The Mayor’s Village Initiative recognizes that each neighborhood has a unique history and social context. The initiative will focus on each neighborhood’s - the Historic Northwest, Coleman Park and Pleasant City - assets and how these can be used to reduce youth violence.
- Crime directly impacts a city’s quality of life, economic health, and potential growth.
- Violent crimes account for about 15% of the total crime rate in both 2016 and 2017 in West Palm Beach. Although the violent crime rate in West Palm Beach is small relative to many U.S. cities, what stands out is the disproportionate effect crime has on the young African American male population in the city.
- Analyzing two major types of crime, shootings and homicide, African American males commit the most violent offenses in West Palm Beach.
- From 2012 to 2017, the West Palm Beach Police Department reported a total of 272 shootings and 114 homicides. Of the total shootings, African American males committed 77%, compared to 13% of African American females and 10% of the white population.
- Of the total homicides, African American males committed 62%, compared to 10% of African American females and 23% of the white population.
The Mayor’s Village Initiative is part of the national initiative Cities United. Cities United is a growing, national network of more than 100 mayors working to cut the homicide rate affecting young African American men and boys in half by the year 2025. In 2013, Mayor Jeri Muoio committed to develop an initiative that was focused on reducing violent related deaths among young African American males. In 2014, Mayor Muoio and Kevin Jones attended the first Cities United convening in New Orleans and the work has been taking place ever since. In 2018, The City of West Palm Beach participated in Cities United’s first annual Roadmap to Safe, Healthy and Hopeful Communities Academy with city and community leaders from across the country. Kevin Jones, the city’s Coordinator of Community Initiatives, and Ricky Aiken, Executive Director of the Inner City Innovators, returned with strategies to counter violence and establish safer, healthier and more hopeful communities in the north end of West Palm Beach.