Cities across the United States are increasing their investment in and engagement with black men and boys, even as support for such initiatives at the national level is scaled back, a report from the Campaign for Black Male Achievement finds.
The report, The Promise of Place: Building Beloved Communities for Black Men and Boys (60 pages, PDF), highlights findings from the latest Black Male Achievement City Index. Launched in 2015, the index ranks fifty cities in twenty-nine states on their visible level of engagement with and committed actions on behalf of African-American men and boys, taking into account demographics; city-led commitment to addressing individual and systemic challenges faced by black men and boys; presence of national programs, initiatives, and organizations supporting black men and boys; and targeted philanthropic funding for such efforts. Overall index scores rose for 62 percent of the cities in the index, held steady for 30 percent, and fell for 8 percent.
As they did in 2015, Detroit and Washington, D.C., tied for the highest index score with 95, followed by Oakland, California, which saw its score fall from 95 to 89; New Orleans (87); Boston (83); and Jackson, Mississippi, whose score increased the most, from 63 to 79. Other cities in the sample that made significant progress include Omaha, Milwaukee, Mobile, and Seattle. The lowest-scoring cities in the index were Columbus (Georgia), Oklahoma City, San Diego, Shreveport, and Tampa.
The study also found that 92 percent of the cities in the sample had signed on to the My Brother's Keeper: Community Challenge, which encourages communities to convene leaders, identify effective strategies, and work together to get all students reading at grade-level, boost high school graduation rates, provide postsecondary education and training options, keep youth safe from violent crime, and provide meaningful employment opportunities for out-of-school youth.
The report outlines a series of actions cities can take to boost black male achievement, including conducting a landscape analysis to assess the scope and kinds of resources available for such efforts; making better use of data to inform decisions around resource allocation; establishing an office focused on improving life outcomes for black men and boys; engaging local and national leaders; and creating a culture of funding support for black men and boys in the local philanthropic community.
"As CBMA celebrates a decade of working to uplift black men and boys as assets to our communities and our country, we issued this report to track city-level commitment, investment and action to advance black male achievement," said CBMA chief executive Shawn Dove. "CBMA's core mission is to elevate the local leaders and hometown heroes that are driving this important work forward in their cities. With the field updates, promising strategies, and models of courageous leadership presented in Promise of Place, we are encouraged and emboldened even as we recognize there is still much more to do in improving life outcomes and opportunities for our black men and boys."