PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Civic and political leaders from across the country gathered in Philadelphia today to strategize how to reduce the violence in the African-American male community.

One of the graphs displayed at today’s meeting at the National Constitution Center showed the breakdown of homicides by race and gender in St. Louis: 8.6% white males, 77.6% black males.

It’s 72% among African-American males in Philadelphia.

Mayor Nutter (at left in photo) noted that the slide presentation showed more than a dozen cities in which the numbers are similar. “It’s an epidemic that’s been going on too long,” he said.

Nutter says the data show that black men share disproportionately high numbers in categories that include homicide, violence, unemployment, and incarceration.

“Unfortunately, you will find African-American males at the bottom of good categories and at the top of negative categories, all of which contribute to a degradation of the quality of life,” the mayor said.

“Many of you will reasonate with this: ‘Hurt people hurt people,’ ” said John Rich, a professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health.

Because of circumstances that include poverty, he says, “it’s very predictable that if you experience early childhood trauma you’re going to fail in school.  And if you fail in school, you’re going to have issues with violence.”

Participants shared a sense of urgecy to reduce violent deaths among black men.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060