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Issues that impact black males are often couched in pathological terms which suggest that this group only makes bad choices. They also tend to conclude that this group only interacts with systems that are punitive in nature, such as the criminal justice system and child support system.
What took place at the Invest in Black Male Achievement Conference invited individuals to look past those assumptions and gain critical knowledge about our nation’s black males. This event was incredibly inspiring for two reasons:
1) We had a set of Black Male Achievement Innovators who collectively presented promise of black men and boys coupled with innovative solutions that are currently underway. These solutions were both impactful and measureable with the potential for them to be replicated.
2) The audience was primarily comprised of funders who dedicated their time to learn more about the work that the BMA Innovators do locally, regionally and nationally.
Because the origins of social welfare policies and programs have been largely limited to the needs of women and children, it is crucial that we illustrate why the acute issues impacting black males are just as important. These issues require and deserve both our investment and our attention. Lending our time and resources to these matters is the key to alleviating the strain that is currently placed on this population and goes beyond the value of any technological research or development.
Challenges and opportunities discussed by the BMA Innovators at the conference shined a light on the fact that America’s promise is tied to the success of all citizens – not just some. Most importantly, it provided hope and optimism that black male achievement will one day be considered the norm as opposed to the exception.