Efforts to improve life outcomes for African-American men and boys must ensure that cities are equipped with the necessary tools and resources to carry out initiatives that support them, a report from the Campaign for Black Male Achievement argues.
The report, The Promise of Place: Cities Advancing Black Male Achievement (42 pages, PDF), marks the launch of the Black Male Achievement City Index, which ranks fifty representative cities in twenty-nine states on their level of engagement and committed actions on behalf of African-American men and boys. Taking into account demographics; city-led efforts to address the individual and systemic challenges faced by black men and boys; the number of organizations and leaders who are members of the CBMA network; the presence of national programs, initiatives, and organizations that support black men and boys; and the level of philanthropic funding targeted to such efforts, the index ranks Detroit as the city doing the most to respond to the needs of black men and boys, followed by Oakland (California), Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Baltimore, Boston, Charlottesville (Virginia), Philadelphia, New York City, and Pittsburgh. The lowest-scoring cities in the sample were Columbus (Georgia), Oklahoma City, San Diego, Shreveport (Louisiana), Mobile (Alabama), Phoenix, Augusta-Richmond (North Carolina), Fort Worth (Texas), Charlotte (North Carolina), and Tampa (Florida).
CBMA emphasizes that the index is neither a ranking of the "best cities" to live for African-American men and boys nor a scoring of how well they are faring in each city but rather an effort to benchmark what strong engagement and committed action look like. The report, which includes profiles of Detroit, Oakland, and Washington, D.C., recommends three actions all cities can take to further progress: mobilize a cross-sector network to address the issues affecting, and expand opportunities for, black men and boys; encourage stakeholders to incorporate an asset-based lens to reframe perceptions of black men and boys and their positive contributions to society; and implement evidence-based policies and practices to meet specific targets for improving life outcomes in the areas of education, work, family, health, and/or safety for black men and boys.
"The BMA City Index shows we all have a lot more work to do to improve life outcomes for black men and boys," the report's authors note. "Even those cities that score highly and are investing resources to carry out initiatives supporting black men and boys should not see this as an end goal in itself, but rather as a point of departure to tangibly improve life outcomes."