By Jerrilyn Black and Leon Andrews
NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has selected 11 cities from a pool of 28 applicants to receive assistance as they work to reduce disparities between black males and their peers. Project cities will include: Charlottesville, Va.; Chicago, Ill.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Louisville, Ky.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Oakland, Calif.; Omaha, Neb.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Portland, Ore.
Supported by the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement, NLC's City Leadership to Promote Black Male Achievement initiative will address a multitude of challenges that place young black men and boys in cities across the country at a significant educational, economic and social disadvantage compared with other children, youth and young adults.
The 11 project cities have all pledged to improve the life outcomes of black men and boys by forming strong local partnerships; using data more effectively; developing comprehensive strategies focused on education, employment, family strengthening, and violence prevention; and engaging young black men and boys in civic life and local government.
Scope of the Initiative
NLC's 16-month technical assistance initiative will assist city leaders as they develop and implement focused, cross-sector plans that are targeted toward meeting the needs of disadvantaged black male residents.
Over the next four months, NLC will host monthly webinars and conduct individual conference calls with each city team as they hone their plans. NLC will then select a subset of this cohort to receive more intensive assistance for the remaining year through site visits, cross-site convenings, and ongoing consultation. Cities selected for this second phase of the initiative will have demonstrated high potential and capacity to implement strategies developed during the planning phase.
Among the benefits of participating in this initiative is the opportunity to learn from other cities and national experts who will share successful strategies for promoting educational equity, strengthening families, helping young black men overcome barriers to employment, and reducing youth violence.
While initial plans vary across the selected cities, many are focused on increasing the proportion of black male students who graduate from high school and reducing the disproportionate arrest and detention rates of black youth. Project cities also seek to increase the number of black male mentors and engage young black men in local decision-making processes through participation in city boards and commissions.
For more information about the City Leadership to Promote Black Male Achievement initiative, contact Leon T. Andrews, Jr., at (202) 626-3039 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to download NLC's municipal action guide on City Leadership to Promote Black Male Achievement, published in the fall of 2012.