In Case You Missed It: "Investing in Boys and Young Men of Color: The Promise and Opportunity"
Jul 14, 2014
Last month, CLASP's Youth Team hosted “Investing in Boys and Young Men of Color: The Promise and Opportunity,” a briefing on the education and employment solutions that communities of color have implemented for boys ages 12-24. It also lifted up the voices of young men who these innovative programs are helping to transform. The event was co-sponsored by PolicyLink, the National Council of La Raza, the Executive Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Young Men of Color, and the Institute for Black Male Achievement.
Among the many nuggets of wisdom shared were three framing ideas put forth by keynote speaker Joshua DuBois, former director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He said that when working with and supporting young men of color, you must first take the time to know their stories. Second, you must like them in spite of their stories. And third, you must give them the tools they need to write the next chapter of their lives.
These themes were passionately reinforced by the four young men who spoke. They each named a particular individual who took a special interest in them, demonstrated love, and pushed them toward greatness. These young men also felt a tremendous responsibility to give back to their communities to help other youth succeed. Their stories of triumph over chronic trauma and poverty demonstrated the tremendous value of quality youth education and employment programs.
The panel of community leaders shared elements of their models of effective engagement with young men in an age group that many have written off. Through their work, young men have had their eyes opened to their value and place in society, and been equipped with skills to be successful in postsecondary pursuits and careers of their choosing. The community leaders also shared important perspectives on how current public policy is impeding their ability to work with young men and suggested common sense solutions.
Click here to learn more about the participants and view videos about youth education and employment programs.