Fort Wayne Launches UNITED Program

Jul 21, 2016

Credit Zach Bernard/WBOI News

On Wednesday, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, in conjunction with My Brother’s Keeper and Cities United, announced a new citywide program called Fort Wayne UNITED, which aims to ensure equity and opportunity for African American males.

Director of Fort Wayne UNITED Iric Headley says the purpose of the program is to enhance opportunities and advocacy for black men and boys through one core principle: unity.

“The divisiveness that only violence can create; we have a response to it, and it’s unification,” Headley said. “It’s white and black, it’s men and women, it’s different political backgrounds, it’s Christian, it’s non-Christian, whatever you want to call it.”

“Our community is very important, and our youth are important enough to put our differences aside,” he said.

Mike Armstrong is listed as a “millennial representative” for Fort Wayne UNITED. He says he was a “troubled youth” who hung out with the wrong crowd, and dropped out of high school as a sophomore. He says he’s grateful to be in a position to help black men.

“We as black men need to see positive black men,” said Armstrong. “Examples of integrity and high standards. I’m eager to see my people exceed expectations and reach their full potential and watch the community thrive the way it should.”

Programming of Fort Wayne UNITED includes quarterly meetings between the police department and black males, a late night basketball program, and a Choose Success Initiative that simulates the outcomes of positive and negative decision-making.