2025 Vision for Black Men & Boys

Posted on February 1, 2011 by

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For (and with) Black Men and Boys

A New World We Must Build!

Los Angeles Community Action Network was among hundreds of leading community organizations across the nation participating in a national meeting last month (January 12) to advance an ambitious agenda to substantially reduce social and economic disparities for Black men and boys, according to spokesperson Pete White.

The meeting focused on strategies outlined in We Dream a World: The 2025 Vision for Black Men and Boys, a report formally unveiled by the 2025 Campaign for Black Men and Boys and CLASP (the Center for Law and Social Policy). The report identifies concrete policy solutions to close educational achievement gaps, ensure workforce success, reduce health disparities, improve conditions for low-income fathers and improve the overall well being of black men, their families and communities.

“Black men and boys continue to smother in an air tight cage of poverty and suffering disparate health outcomes,” said White.

“This work requires an unprecedented level of collaboration and alignment of resources,” said Greg Hodge of Community Development Associates. “Our window of opportunity is rapidly closing and the needs of young people are painfully urgent.”

The We Dream a World vision is the culmination of five years of research and dialogue. The seeds of the project and the 2025 Campaign were planted when a group of thought-leaders met to discuss the many challenges facing black males. By 2007 the campaign had cemented its grand vision – ensuring that by the time black boys born in 2007 turn 18 (in 2025), the nation’s policies and social mores will have changed drastically enough that collectively they will fare far better than today’s young black men.

Currently, less than half of Black male students graduate from high school on time and only 11 percent complete a bachelor’s degree. According to the latest Bureau of Labor statistics, the unemployment rate for black men is 16.5 percent, nearly double the 8.5 percent rate for their white counterparts. And among black males with a bachelor’s degree, only 43 percent have a job that pays at least $14.51 per hour, or enough to put them significantly above the federal poverty level if they have to support a family of four. In Los Angeles the collateral damage of institutions and systems heavily weighed against Black men and boys is clearly manifested in their disproportionate representation in the ranks of the homeless. In Los Angeles County, 1 in 18 Black persons are homeless; this is compared to 1 in every 270 of their White counterpart.

The 2025 report focuses on five areas, including Education, Employment and Wealth, Health Issues, Fatherhood and Families, and Equality Within the Justice System, highlighting these disparities among others:

· E  Education — only 15 per cent of Black students are in well-resourced, well-performing schools, while 42 percent of them are in schools that are characterized as under-resourced and under-performing; 28 per cent of their teachers are under-prepared, lacking appropriate certifications;

· E  Employment and Wealth — only 1 in 5 Black males have “good jobs” (those paying at least $14.50 per hour); the wealth gap between Black families and their Caucasian counterparts quadrupled between 1984-2007, with the latter’s median assets rising from $22,000 to $100,000 while Black family median assets remained stagnant at only $5000; having a “white sounding name” is an advantage for hiring purposes!

· H  Health – African Americans twice as likely as Whites to have no health insurance; Black males subjected to unequal, insensitive treatment due to stereotypes about them; greater exposure to stress and violence as victims or witnesses are taking their toll;

· F  Fatherhood and Families – chronic unemployment and underemployment and their resulting financial consequences are significant negative factors; negative impact of welfare regulations on parental relationships and family structure; lacking in parental skills, due in part to the absence of strong male role models in their lives;

· E  Equality Within the Justice System – Black males face a systemic bias at all levels of law enforcement and t he justice system and little or no accountability for addressing it; Black youth far more likely to be placed in detention or confinement than White youth.

 

In each of these areas, the report calls for the changing of policies and the allocation of necessary resources on all levels of government – federal, state, local, communal, including the training and use of service providers who respect the cultural orientations of Black people and who have records of satisfactory service to Black boys and/or men, in order to provide for the reversal of these negative, unjust circumstances. It calls for all levels to recognize the urgent need to give priority focus to these issues, including the need for parents and community organizations (particularly the faith-community) to upgrade their awareness and skills relative to these extremely urgent issues and to accelerate their diligent, pro-active involvement. (Read the full report at www.clasp.org/admin/site/documents/files/2025BMBfulldoc.pdf .) The Campaign is currently housed at the Twenty-First Century Foundation (21CF). Visit them for more information at www.21cf.org.

 

“Our goal is not to point out the disparities, which many of us know about all too well, but to create a local, state and national movement for real change,” said Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt, author of We Dream a World, and senior policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “Neither the nation nor the African American community can afford to lose yet another generation of young black men.”

 

(Contact: Pete White, 213-434-1594, petew@cangress.org for further information and details.)

 

 

 

 

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Posted in: Race Matters