Archive for the ‘Education’ 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.

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.