Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Re-framing the Story about Black Male Achievement

In May 2014, I read a report, titled “Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement”, which was produced by The Foundation Center, with funding from the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement.  One of the goals of the campaign was to re-frame the story about Black men in America.  The 2016 video below shows how far that idea has moved beyond strategy to implementation.

The Story of CBMA from CampaignforBMA on Vimeo.

I offered my suggestions in 2014 via this blog article, and have interacted with BMA Executive Director Shawn Dove, via Twitter and other formats since the late 2000s.

When I look at the BMA video I'm emotionally connected. The way the story is told is powerful. If that story can be told over and over, for many years, and in many media formats, I do feel we'll begin to shift the way we perceive Black men and boys and their potential.

However, I hope that another set of videos is being created using maps, graphics and ideas, visualizing a planning process that needs to take place in cities, rural areas and reservations throughout the country.  I've been sharing these ideas for nearly 20 years. They are intended to make mentor-rich, long-term, volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring, learning and jobs programs available in every poverty neighborhood of America, where boys AND girls of multiple racial backgrounds live in highly segregated, high poverty, neighborhoods.

Here's an article I wrote in February 2014, following President Obama's launch of the My Brother's Keeper program. Note the use of maps and graphics in the article.  Here's another from May 2014.

In January 2010 I wrote "Obama supports mentoring. Whats-strategy ?"

I encourage you to visit the BMA web site after you've viewed the video and (hopefully) looked at some of the articles on this blog.  There is a host of great ideas and good work being done by BMA.

I have recognized for a long time that my way of telling this story is too detailed and too technical and that I'm not as talented a story-teller as others. I'm also an 'old White man', supporting a movement that wants to put Black men and women in front of the camera.

As a result, I've reached out to alumni of the tutoring programs I've led since 1975, with the goal that they would take ownership of the ideas and strategies I share, and use their own multiple talents to tell this part of the story, over and over.  So far that's not happened, but I keep trying.

I hope my own ideas and efforts help shape what happens in the future, while influencing others to build their own commitment and strategies to support the growth of mentor-rich K-16 youth serving programs in every high poverty neighborhood of the country.

I want to thank Phil Jackson, and the Black Star Project, for sharing the BMA video in today's email newsletter.

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