Black Male Achievement: It’s More Than Just Good Grades
The other day, I came across Gene Marks's controversial Forbes article, “If I Were a Poor Black Kid.” It describes economic inequality as the most important issue of our time, as marked by President Obama in a poignant speech he gave recently in Kansas. Marks, a white, middle-aged tech writer, discusses how if he were a poor black kid, he would make sure to receive the best grades possible. But the obstacles poor black kids face in this country go far beyond studying hard and getting straight A's. The article grossly minimizes the reality of inequality faced by black people and other disenfranchised groups. Marks clearly does not understand what life is like for poor black kids.
Though I'm on staff at the Campaign for Black Male Achievement here at the Open Society Foundations, I’m not a black kid either. I’m Latina and can only speak to my own experience. But whatever our ethnic or racial background, it’s much more important to fight inequality than it is to waste time claiming what we would do if we were someone else. In the last quarter of 2011, the campaign's grantees and partners did just that.
Highlights include three exciting new partnerships. With Echoing Green, we announced a new fellowship program for individuals dedicated to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys in the United States. It is the first fellowship program of its kind that targets social entrepreneurs who are starting up new organizations in the field of black male achievement.
With the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, we embarked on a new campaign that will highlight the stories of black men and boys, celebrating and supporting them so they can lead others in strengthening their communities. The Black Male Engagement project piloted this year in two cities, Philadelphia and Detroit.
We also partnered with Root Cause in launching a Leadership and Sustainability Institute to bolster the efforts to improve the life outcomes of black males in the U.S. The project will strengthen the capacity of the campaign’s grantees and other nonprofit organizations working within the field of black male achievement.
In addition to these partnerships, we granted funding to the following organizations:
- Fathers, Families and Healthy Communities Initiative
- The Black Star Project
- Philadelphia Leadership Foundation’s Healing Communities
- Urban Underground
- Urban Institute
- Mentoring USA
- UCLA Labor Center’s Los Angeles Black Workers Center
- Equity Center at Indiana University
- Southern University System
- The Foundation Center
- Art on Purpose
- Third World Press
For more information on our grantmaking, please see our grants page.
Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity | P.O. Box 70457 | Marietta | GA | 30007
Dear high school staff members/group advisors,
I direct the youth-led group, YouthRISE for Obama 2012 Detroit, a partner of Organzing for America Metro Detroit, the 2012 Obama campaign, and happen to be a junior at Southfield High School. Our organization, which is made up high school students from across Southeastern Michigan, is hosting a youth leadership summit at the end of next month and we're recruiting young high school leaders to attend. Please forward this information (see attachment) to all high school students you feel would be good fits for this FREE event! If you have any questions please call or email as soon as possible! Thank you and have a great day! I look forward to meeting the great, young and energetic representative leaders from your school and having a blast with them!
A T T E N T I O N H I G H S C H O O L E R S
LOOKING FOR METRO DETROIT HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO PARTICIAPTE IN FREE LEADERSHIP SUMMIT AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZING EVENT
YouthRISE for Obama 2012 Detroit
YouthRISE Future Leaders Summit 2012
In partnership with Organizing for America Metro Detroit
YouthRISE for Obama 2012 Detroit, an all youth volunteer organization and team member of Organizing for America’s Detroit office, the Michigan headquarters for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, is hosting a summit for young leaders on March 31st, 2012 for select Metro Detroit high school students in grades 9-12. We are currently searching for 50 young people to attend. The first 50 to R.S.V.P will be scheduled to attend and will be invited to take part in online planning for the event via online conferencing before the 31st. Students can RSVP by calling 313-974-1285, or e-mailing @email@example.com (subject line– I Am A Young Leader, and include name, school, age, grade, address, telephone number, and any additional info to let us know who you are, such as hobbies or interests) before or on March 17th! THE ENTIRE EVENT IS FREE!!!!
QUESTIONS OR FOR ADDITIONAL INFO: CALL 313-974-1285
Organizing for America 2727 2nd Avenue Detroit, MI 48219
(On the corner of 2nd and Temple, next door to Cass Technical High School
SATURDAY, MARCH 31ST, 2012
At the end of the Future Leaders Summit, participants will possess a thorough knowledge and understanding of the 2012 campaign, the President’s agenda, and their importance to the campaign and how they can get immediately in-volved. At the end of all workshops and discussions, all attendees will receive certification as YouthRISE team leaders and OFA grassroots organizers by Or-ganizing for America Detroit and YouthRISE for Obama
We’re bringing together the area’s brightest students involved in political activ-ism, community service, and youth empowerment interested in volunteering for the President’s campaign. The summit will tackle:
THE OFA FAMILY
NEW MEDIA & SOCIAL NETOWKRING AS MOBILIZATION TOOLS
BUILDING VOLUNTEER TEAMS IN SCHOOLS
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S AGENDA AND THIS ELECTION’S IMPORTANCE TO
THE YOUTH COMMUNITY.
VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP IN POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS
ELECTIONS, AND PRIMARIES
WHAT WE’LL DO:
GROUP GAMES, DISCUSSIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
TEAM BUILDING AND LEADERSHIP ACTIVITIES
HEAR YOUNG GUEST SPEAKERS
GET TO KNOW LIKEMINDED YOUNG PEOPLE
EAT A FANTASTIC LUNCH
GET FIRED UP AND READY TO GO FOR 2012!
REMEMBER, NO APPLICATION IS NECESSARY!
JUST RSVP IMMEDIATELY:
(313)-974-1285 OR @firstname.lastname@example.org TODAY!!!!!
-YouthRISE Director, Jonathan J. Moore
2727 2nd. Ave Detroit inside the Metropolitan Center for High Technology
Director, YouthRISE for Obama 2012 Detroit
Organizing Fellow, Obama for America