Changing the Odds for America’s Boys and Men of Color

Today in Sacramento PolicyLink will deliver testimony at the California Assembly Select Committee hearing on the Status of Boys and Men of color to address the critical barriers impacting African American and Latino male youth across the state and the U.S.

Compared to other ethnic groups, young boys and men of color in America are more likely to:

  • Have far less access to quality schools, teachers and after-school programs that provide safe spaces to learn and play
  • Encounter disproportionately harsh disciplinary and punitive practices and policies
  • Experience severely high levels of poverty, joblessness, incarceration, and violence

These statistics reveal a national crisis about which PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell and Maria Echaveste, former Deputy Chief of Staff for President Clinton, had this to say:

“Our convictions derive from on-the-ground observations of what’s happening to the most marginalized, as well as the lived experiences of black men and boys with whom we are intimately familiar.

“We wouldn’t dare let a 10-year-old African American kid leave home in pants sagging way lower than they should; no matter that his white classmates in “cool” Berkeley do the same without being stereotyped or stunted.

“We hear the angst and frustration of a nephew, locked up when he was 16 for committing the sort of crime for which a white teen is remanded to community service: ‘Tia,’ says he, now 30, ‘I’m trying to do better but I can’t get a job. When they hear I have a record …’

“For us, the personal, professional and policymaking are bound together. We are emboldened as mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts and advocates by what our kin have endured, even as we push for truly at-risk males from other families of color to get a fairer chance.”

You can read more in today’s Sacramento Bee opinion section.



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