Do We Really Value Boys and Young Men of Color? Enough to Embrace Systems Change?

“I have not time to mince words nor to sugarcoat the truth.  Truth is truth and the truth is that many Americans do not see value in investing in boys of color.” 

These words from Nikkia Rowe, principal of Renaissance Academy High School in Baltimore, were published by The Washington Post on June 25th, and they reflect what we see as a building sense of awareness and frustration among those who do indeed care – and care deeply – about the plight of boys and young men of color in our nation.

Rowe, who obviously does not mince words, points directly to antiquated systems as key factors in keeping boys and young men of color from achieving their potential.

“There are schools all over the country fighting, just like Renaissance, to save the lives of children that society has consistently undervalued, hidden, and avoided…” she writes. “[This] devastating hardship and struggle is the creation of those who control systems. Outcomes for young men of color will only truly change when we all have the courage to make radical change to challenge and restructure the current systems.”

The potential of every newborn black male is shaped by compounding factors of societal complacency, antiquated systems, and lack of investment, Rowe explains. She calls upon city and state leaders to make key changes, starting with deep and intentional investment in the population she serves:

“We have a choice. We can invest on the front end in quality educational experiences, college access, and employment and career pathways, or we shall certainly pay on the back end with our children’s loss of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

At Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC (ACS), we couldn’t agree more. We encourage everyone to read the full post, and consider how your work can support boys and young men of color in your community. For our part, we pledge to continue to make this a key area of focus and help build knowledge about needs and solutions. Visit our website to see other news posts about boys and young men of color, a case study about how ACS helped five communities strategically communicate and organize for action, and research about the 10 key elements for successful efforts to raise the bar for boys and young men of color.

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