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Durham County to Host 2017 Cities United Regional Convening

Post Date:03/03/2017 12:50 PM

Three years ago, Durham accepted President Barack Obama’s community challenge to increase access to opportunity for boys and men of color (BMOC) through the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative.  Currently, more than 250 MBK communities across the country are working to implement cradle-to-college-to-career strategies that positively influence the trajectory of boys and men of color.  


Durham realized early in the MBK planning process that the ability to achieve the six MBK goals depended on several core principles: understanding culture and gender, measuring an evaluating progress, and coordinating and collaborating with key stakeholders. Using these core principles, MBK Durham fashioned a comprehensive set of strategies aimed at enhancing life outcomes for boys and men of color.


According to Wendell M. Davis, Durham County Manager, “In order to have the greatest impact in addressing disparities in educational achievement, incarceration, health outcomes, employment and wealth, a systematic approach is key.”  


Part of making critical headway in the success of MBK Durham is to create the climate and space for cultural understanding. Durham did this by engaging Cities United, engaging in Racial Equity Training,  and identifying critical stakeholder partnerships to move MBK Durham forward. Cities United is a national movement focused on eliminating violence in American cities related to African American men and boys. Anthony Smith, Executive Director of Cities United, says “Cities United is excited to partner with Durham, NC leaders who are working to create better outcomes for all young men and boys of color.  We look forward to working side by side with Durham community leaders, as you all continue to build out your plan.”


On March 13-14, 2017, MBK Durham will host the 2017 Cities United Regional Convening drawing community partners from North and South Carolina. The convening offers a collaborative opportunity to gather local and regional organizations, community partners and young people working to create and seeking to live in safe, healthy and hopeful communities.


The two-day convening is free to attendees. Day one will include a half day of career exploration opportunities to expose BMOC to career fields in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM). The career exploration workshops are geared towards 11-15 year olds but additional age groups are welcome to attend. Day two will enable leaders from MBK and Cities United communities to hone in on what they can do collectively and individually to strengthen resources created to improve outcomes for BMOC. The group will discuss strategies and gain tools inspired by the convening theme Urgency of Now: Shattering Biases. Building Equity.  



2017 Cities United Regional Convening Durham, North Carolina


My Brother’s Keeper Durham


March 13, 2017

4-8 p.m. (Youth Portion)

March 14, 2017

8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Adult Portion)


Durham Convention Center

301 West Morgan Street

Downtown Durham





To view the complete agenda, see the list of guest speakers, or to register for the upcoming convening, visit the Durham County website.



About My Brother’s Keeper Durham

In November 2014, the Durham Board of County Commissioners adopted President Barack Obama’s my Brother’s Keeper Initiative as Durham’s Youth Initiative. MBK Durham is supported by the Durham City Council and Board of Education and has a specific focus aimed at enhancing life outcomes for boys and men of color. Consistent with the charge, MBK Durham was adopted with the six goals that parallel the national MBK goals with an evidence based program design. Those goals are to Ensure all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally ready to learn; Ensure all children read at grade level by 3rd grade; Ensure all youth graduate from high school prepared for college and career; Ensure all youth complete post-secondary education or training; Ensure all youth successfully enter the workforce; and Reduce violence and provide second chances to justice involved youth. For more information about MBK Durham, visit:



About Cities United

Cities United was launched in 2011 by Philadelphia Mayor, Michael Nutter, who partnered with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Casey Family Programs President and CEO, William C. Bell, Campaign for Black Male Achievement CEO, Shawn Dove, and the National League of Cities to forge a national network of communities focused on eliminating violence in American cities related to African American men and boys. Today, this movement has grown to nearly 90 cities committed to working with community leaders, families, youth, philanthropic organizations and other stakeholders to reduce the epidemic of homicides and violence plaguing African American men and boys. These cities also are focused on restoring hope to their communities and building pathways to justice, employment, education and increased opportunities for residents. For more information: