Archive for the ‘Black Men & Boys’ Category

A National Coalition of Black Male Achievement Initiatives urges the Supreme Court to uphold the admissions procedures of the University of Texas at Austin (UT)

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AUG 13, 2012

A National Coalition of Black Male Achievement Initiatives urges the Supreme Court to uphold the admissions procedures of the University of Texas at Austin (UT)

Click link to view: Amicus Brief

COLUMBUS, OH – Today a national Coalition of Black Male Achievement Initiatives (BMI) filed an amicus (“friend of the Court”) brief at the United States Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas, a high profile college admissions case to be heard by the Court next term.

The BMI brief urges the Supreme Court to examine the low numbers of African American males currently enrolled at selective colleges and universities before deciding whether to prevent admissions officers from considering race along with other aspects of an applicant’s biography when putting together a diverse entering class. Studies of college diversity rarely uncouple information about a student’s race or ethnicity from his gender, the BMI brief notes. This obscures the fact that—even with the use of holistic race-conscious review—the numbers of African American males currently enrolled at selective universities are already distressingly low.

“As a percentage of the student bodies at selective flagship universities,” the brief states, a 2006 survey revealed, “the average black male enrollment rate at these institutions was a stunning 2.8%.”

The BMI brief urges the Supreme Court to uphold the admissions procedures of the University of Texas at Austin (UT), which permit admissions officials to consider race along with a number of other factors when putting together a diverse entering class. Abigail Fisher challenged the constitutionality of those procedures after being denied admission, claiming she was rejected due to her race (Fisher is white).The BMI brief was filed along with dozens of others, making the case one of the most heavily briefed cases in Supreme Court history.

The BMI brief notes that, in Fall 2009, “only 1.79% of UT’s full-time first-time undergraduates were Black males (129 Black male freshmen out of 7,199).” The elimination of race-conscious admissions procedures will make this crisis even worse, the BMIs argue.

Beyond UT’s interest in student body diversity, the brief also urges the Supreme Court to recognize that states have an interest in addressing the harmful effects of racial isolation and the severely disadvantaged social conditions that surround and negatively impact the lives of many of their African American residents. African Americans continue to be disproportionately isolated from educational, economic and social opportunity to a degree not experienced by any other racial or ethnic group, the BMI brief argues, and states have a compelling interest in reducing conditions that impair the equal opportunity for advancement of their residents. Failure to address such social conditions imperils the well being of all of a state’s residents, the BMIs assert.

“Decades of isolation in the nation’s most disadvantaged communities have fueled, grave White/Black health disparities, negative educational outcomes and enormous income and wealth gaps for African Americans,” said Shawn Mooring, Network Manager of the 2025 Network for Black Men and Boys, which led the effort to file the brief.

“These enduring patterns of social inequality will worsen if pathways to academic opportunity for Black youth are blocked,” the brief argues.

For more information, contact Shawn Mooring, Network Manager/Member of the 2025 Network for Black Men and Boys, at shawn.mooring@gmail.com and visit http://www.2025bmb.org/; Sharon Davies, Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute, at (614) 688-5429 or davies.49@osu.edu and visit www.kirwaninstitute.osu.edu.

About the National 2025 Network for Black Men and Boys

The mission of the 2025 Network for Black Men and Boys is to collaboratively further the educational, social, emotional, physical, spiritual, political and economic development and empowerment of African descendant men and boys in the United States.

About the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity is an interdisciplinary, engaged-research center founded in 2003 at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have the opportunity to succeed.

“Faces of Profiling”

Friday, July 13th, 2012

For Immediate Release

Moving Forward Gulf Coast’s Black Men & Boys Initiative

Adds value to Racial Profiling at “Faces of Profiling” National Conference Call

To hear audio recording Click hear

New Orleans, Louisiana- The Black Men & Boys Initiative (BMBI) at Moving Forward Gulf Coast, Inc. is helping to shape a new future for Black Men and Boys in New Orleans.  And Executive Director, Trupania Bonner has been invited to speak on a panel with nationally known advocates, to talk about how racial profiling impacts Black Men and Boys.

The Faces of Profiling call will take place on June 29, 2012 at 12pm CNT. For more information visit: http://www.rightsworkinggroup.org As a part of Racial Profiling: Gender and LGBTQ Awareness Week, the Racial Profiling: Face the Truth campaign is hosting a conference call to explore the intersections of race, gender, and sexual orientation as they correlate to racial and religious profiling in our communities. Speakers will discuss the impact of racial profiling on immigrant women, women and men of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color across the country. Don’t miss this exciting call where we connect more dots to recognize the inherent commonalities in our movement to end racial profiling.

Speakers:

  • Ai-jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Andrea Ritchie, Street Wise and Safe
  • Paulina Hernandez, Southerners on New Ground
  • Trupania Bonner, Moving Forward Gulf Coast, Inc., BMB 2025
  • Pabitra Benjamin, Rights Working Group (Moderator)

Rights Working Group (RWG) formed in the aftermath of September 11th to promote and protect the human rights of all people in the United States. A coalition of more than 330 local, state and national organizations, RWG works collaboratively to advocate for the civil liberties and human rights of everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, citizenship or immigration status.

This national group identified Racial and religious profiling as a pervasive problem that affects many communities across the country.  RWG public statements assert that:

In addition to targeting the African American community, racial and religious profiling also affect a broad range of communities, including Native American, Latino, Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities.  Not only is racial profiling humiliating and degrading for the people subjected to it, it is unconstitutional, it is an ineffective law enforcement practice, and it damages community security.

RWG’s Racial Profiling: Face the Truth Campaign seeks to win reforms in local, state and federal policies to end the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement. Racial profiling is an ineffective law enforcement practice and it is often the entry point into a broad range of other human rights violations. RWG sees the fight against racial profiling as a part of a broader struggle to achieve racial justice and human rights for everyone in the United States.

Moving Forward’s Black Men and Boys Initiative multi-year initiative is composed of strategic community and national campaigns that focus on issues of critical impact on the ability of Black Men & Boys to live their best lives.   Programs and campaigns of this initiative work toward one shared vision of helping to make the greater New Orleans a place where Black Men & Boys can thrive. For more information visit: www.movingforwardgc.org

The Truth About My Father

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

by Dr. Petrice Sams-Abuidon

A truly educated man is he who has learned in school how to study and in life what to study.

—W. E. B. DuBois

I am a native New Orleanian.  The eldest child of a teen mother and a heroin-addicted father. Born in a public hospital, raised in public housing, and educated in the public school system,  I am a product of all the decaying public systems we are now working to dismantle or rebuild post-Katrina.

My father’s struggle with addiction and habitual incarceration had a profound influence on my life.  And in spite of his shortcomings, he was a good daddy. He epitomized the culture of New Orleans, family, food, friends, and festivities. He would always take me and my younger siblings to second line events, and boy could he kick it (dance)!

He was well-read and articulate. He was a “street intellectual.” Everyone in the neighborhood knew him, because he was  charismatic and kept a newspaper rolled up in his back pocket. The Today Show was the morning mandate in our household, and we were always quizzed about current events. He was always very honest with me about the “ways of the street,” and it is from him that I received my most important lessons about being a young woman.

Despite the warm memories, there are also many difficult ones. Like knowing that when the housing inspector came around, there were two things that we were not to acknowledge that were a part of our household: my father and our dog. Memories of my father being in and out of jail all of my life are profound.  I remember the trips my mother, sisters, brother, and I made to Angola State Penitentiary to visit my dad. I was so ashamed and confused. My sister a year younger than me was angry. And my youngest sister and brother, who at the time were little more than babies, would cry that they wanted their daddy back after each visit.

Throughout all these life experiences I always wanted to understand why.  I remember saying as a little girl around eight years old that I would never marry or have children, because I thought that the reason that poor women could not get ahead was because they were in dysfunctional relationships and had too many children. What I did not understand was that there were so many other external forces that created the social order and reality that I and others were experiencing.

As the determined little “womanish” girl that my father, family, and neighbors labeled me, I set out to learn and understand the truth about my community. I vigorously pursued my studies, but I came to realize that I also had a truth to be told: a truth that there are too many people outside of poor communities who define who we are and what we need. I saw through my graduate education and professional experience the powerful role that research has in defining how poor African American families are viewed. This research has a profound impact on many of the  policies and programs that exist today affecting black families and communities.

In my studies, I also found that there is a major disjuncture in the literature on the attachment, role, and contributions of low-income men to family and community. As a result, I suggest that these men are both the heart and demise of many of the families and children that we propose to support through our programs and policies.  These men who are our sons, uncles, brothers, cousins, and fathers can both contribute to—and pull on—the resources of already fragile families.

Two years into my graduate studies, my dad returned to prison as a very ill man and died there on Labor Day 2000, despite my efforts to have him released while in hospice care. However, he assured me he was at peace; and today his legacy lives on through my work to use research and social justice to empower and aid traditionally marginalized and oppressed people.

Weathering the Storm: A Vision for Success for Black Men and Boys in New Orleans

Monday, October 18th, 2010

August 19, 2010 | by Shawn Dove

Our work in New Orleans poses a particularly challenging, yet motivating, question: What does success look like for black men and boys when we consider the mountain of inequities and injustices they have historically faced here?

Discrimination has produced staggering negative outcomes for black men and boys in the areas of education, work, and incarceration, to name a few. Fortunately, there is a treasure chest of hope found in communities throughout New Orleans and in the advocates and leaders who possess a “mountain-be-moved spirit” that enables them to envision progress five years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the floods.

We asked some of these leaders to define their vision for black men and boys in New Orleans.

In 2008, the 21st Century Foundation, with support from Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), expanded its Black Men and Boys Initiative to New Orleans.  There, they support coalition-building and leadership development activities of groups seeking to improve the life outcomes of black men and boys.  Trap Bonner, executive director of Moving Forward Gulf Coast, the 21st Century Foundation’s lead organization in the region:

When our organizing and advocacy efforts are successful, our New Orleans Black Men and Boys Coalition will have contributed to creating an atmosphere and environment where our men and boys can thrive.  On the state and federal policy level, black men and boys will be the creators, not merely the recipients, of public policies and programs that address the whole needs of our community.  We will have de-railed the school-to-prison pipeline in New Orleans and will have won victories for higher quality, culturally competent public education for our boys.

Patrice Sams-Abiodun, a board member of Women In Fatherhood Incorporated—a  CBMA grantee—and the executive director of the New Orleans Fatherhood Consortium, believes in strengthening support for responsible fatherhood policies and programs:

By addressing and supporting black men as fathers we can improve the well-being of children, families and communities.  The New Orleans Fatherhood Consortium, a collaborative of government and nonprofit social service organizations, fatherhood providers, researchers, funders and fathers envisions a New Orleans where the role of fathers is reclaimed in families and healthy lifestyles are created, so that neighborhoods are strong.

James Logan is program director for YouthLine America, Inc., which has led an organizing and community mapping initiative in collaboration with the Greater New Orleans Afterschool Partnership, resulting in the creation of a youth-produced website, neworleans.ilivehere.info. He sees opportunities through the crisis of Katrina:

Remembering the events of five years ago, a win for black men and boys in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast would be for them to have the tools and ability to create better opportunities and structures than those that existed pre-Katrina.  The tragedy has given black men and boys in the Gulf Coast the opportunity to reinvent the structures and opportunities available to them from the ground up!

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In the five years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the levees broke, residents have developed innovative approaches to tackling some of the city’s—and the nation’s—most persistent problems: criminal justice reform, unresponsive government, and racial and economic inequality.  In recognition of these efforts, during the month of August the Open Society Blog shines a light on people and organizations in New Orleans bringing change from within one of the country’s most important cities. Read more posts in this series.