New Report Presents Strategies to Close Disparities

January 07, 2011 | The St. Louis American |  Link to article

The 2025 Campaign for Black Men and Boys, a broad coalition of national and local organizations, recently released a new report with recommendations aimed at drastically altering life outcomes for black men and boys. 

We Dream A World: The 2025 Vision for Black Men and Boys 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.

"It's old hat to talk about how too many of our young black men don't live up to their potential," said Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt, We Dream A World author and senior policy analyst at the Center for the Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

"The state of black men in the United States calls for bold and immediate action. The status quo won't do. We need fresh ideas, political will at all levels, and a clear vision forward to ensure that we don't lose yet another generation of young black men who could contribute to the economic and social well-being of our country."

The We Dream A World vision is the culmination of five years of research and dialogue aimed at taking a candid look at outcomes and conditions for black men and boys and what it will take to improve their lives.

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.

With the release of the report, the campaign has articulated its vision and defined concrete goals to achieve its vision.

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

Currently, less than half of black male students graduate from high school on time and only 11 percent complete a bachelor's degree. In June of this year, the unemployment rate for black men was 17.4 percent - nearly double the 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.

We Dream A World's strategy focuses on five areas: education; employment and wealth; health; fatherhood and families; and justice, rights, responsibilities and opportunities.

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