Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is in Philadelphia today for a national conference aimed at reducing violence and violent deaths among young African American men.
Mayors from around the country are attending the Cities United conference, which will deal with such topics as under-engagement, juvenile justice reform, youth organizing, and building healthy relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Her office said that, in Minneapolis, African American men ages 18-24 are far more likely than any other group to be victims of violent crime.
Hodges said in a statement:
We as a city need to make sure that boys and men of color contribute to our city’s civic and economic vitality, and to do that they need safe neighborhoods. We must address inequities in our criminal justice system and provide educational and economic opportunities for our young men. Turning young men away from violence toward vitality is crucial for One Minneapolis and our future together.
Hodges said she brought 18-year-old Isaiah Hudson to the conference. Hudson, a member of the Minneapolis Youth Violence Prevention Executive Committee, who grew up in poverty on the city’s North Side and was exposed to violent crime, now is attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
Hudson said being at the conference is empowering and that it “gets me thinking, what can we do differently in our communities, what are the options and possibilities.”