March 14, 2022 - Sunday morning, eleven churches simultaneously opened their doors to the community, along with their congregations, to view a video about the grief journeys of local families who have lost loved ones to homicide and to learn about ways they can help through the United Response program, launched by Fort Wayne UNITED. The video included testimonials from pastors who are usually the first ones to be called when a family member has been shot, and they’re with the families through the funeral and after. They have traveled this journey with families more than most, and suffer right along with them, while experiencing the painful journey of healing.

United Response will release several videos throughout 2022 that will highlight the grief journey and brings awareness to the needs of families who have lost loved ones to homicide.

“I believe that United Response is the right response to those families who are already hurting with the loss of a love one to violence,” said Pastor Anthony Pettus, Greater Progressive Baptist Church. “To be able to help them with burial costs is a load the we as a group can help lift.”

Fort Wayne UNITED’s United Response is a critical expansion of Fort Wayne UNITED’s Meals 4 Healing program, designed to serve families who have lost loved ones to homicide. United Response was created to provide additional aid in the form of stipends to help offset burial costs.

To view the video played on United Response Sunday:

To make a donation to United Response:

Fort Wayne UNITED is a Mayoral initiative that places two national efforts, Cities United and My Brother's Keeper, under one umbrella. It is designed to answer the call to enhance opportunities, advance youth advocacy and help create a safer city for all, but more specifically for black men and boys. By bringing together a group of passionate and committed leaders, the initiative will educate, inform and engage the community in an effort to make positive change one neighborhood at a time.

Fort Wayne UNITED’s vision is for every black male in Fort Wayne to be respected and valued with an opportunity to reach their full potential. The mission is to advocate for and implement policies, practices and procedures to ensure equity and opportunity for black fathers, brothers and sons at home, work, school, and the community through collaborative efforts.