For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Contact: Pete White, 213-434-1594, firstname.lastname@example.org
COMMUNITY LEADERS CONVENE TO DETERMINE HOW TO RECLAIM THE DREAM
Los Angeles Community Action Network [LA CAN] Helping Set Groundwork for Improving Outcomes for Black Males by 2025
Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles Community Action Network is among hundreds of leading community organizations across the nation participating today in a national meeting to advance an ambitious agenda to substantially reduce social and economic disparities for black men and boys.
The meeting focuses on strategies outlined in We Dream a World: The 2025 Vision for Black Men and Boys, a report formally unveiled today by the 2025 Campaign for Black Men and Boys and CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy during a convening of national, state and local leaders and advocates. The report 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.
“As we approach the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it is impossible to escape the sobering reality, his dream has been drastically deferred. Black men and boys continue to smother in an air tight cage of poverty and suffering disparate health outcomes,” said Pete White of the Los Angeles Community Action Network. “That said, We Dream a World: The 2025 Vision for Black Men and Boys, illustrates a nationwide breath of fresh air, opportunity, and courage”.
Currently, less than half of black male students graduate from high school on time and only 11 percent complete a bachelor’s degree. According to the latest Bureau of Labor statistics, the unemployment rate for black men is 16.5 percent, nearly double the 8.5 percent 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. In Los Angeles the collateral damage of institutions and systems heavily weighed against Black men and boys is clearly manifested in their disproportionate representation in the ranks of the homeless. In Los Angeles County 1 in 18 Black persons are homeless; this is compared to 1 in every 270 of their White counterpart.
“This work requires an unprecedented level of collaboration and alignment of resources,” said Greg Hodge of Community Development Associates. “Our window of opportunity is rapidly closing and the needs of young people are painfully urgent.”
The We Dream a World vision is the culmination of five years of research and dialogue. 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.
“Our goal is not to point out the disparities, which many of us know about all too well, but to create a local, state and national movement for real change,” said Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt, We Dream a World author and senior policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). “Neither the nation nor the African American community can afford to lose yet another generation of young black men.”
Read the full report at http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/documents/files/2025BMBfulldoc.pdf.
Join the live webcast on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. ET http://www.ustream.tv/channel/clasp (Password: BMB2025)
The 2025 Campaign for Black Men and Boys is a national collaborative effort of several organizations and individuals. The mission of the 2025 Campaign is to collaboratively develop and implement an initiative for the educational, social, emotional, physical, spiritual, political and economic development and empowerment of black men and boys in the United States. The Campaign is currently housed at the Twenty-First Century Foundation (21CF). Visit http://2025bmb.org/index2.php for more information.
CLASP develops and advocates for policies at the federal, state and local levels that improve the lives of low income people. We focus on policies that strengthen families and create pathways to education and work. Through careful research and analysis and effective advocacy, we develop and promote new ideas, mobilize others, and directly assist governments and advocates to put in place successful strategies that deliver results that matter to people across America. Visit www.clasp.org for more information.
The mission of the Los Angeles Community Action Network is to help people dealing with poverty create and discover opportunities while serving as a vehicle to insure they have voice, power and opinion in the decisions that are directly affecting them. www.cangress.wordpress.com