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Black men seek community solutions

Published: Sat, December 3, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

I received an email that had this statement in its subject line: “Black Men Across America Organize.”

It was sent to me by Kenneth Braswell, executive director of Fathers Inc., and it called my attention to a November event that addressed issues of black male achievement in 15 selected communities across the country.

Representatives from these cities participated: Albany, N.Y.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Baton Rouge, La.; Chicago; Cincinnati; Jackson, Miss.; Louisville, Ky.; Milwaukee; Newark, N.J.; New York City; Omaha, Neb.; Peoria, Ill.; Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

According to its website, Fathers Inc., established in 2004, serves as a leader in the promotion of responsible fatherhood and mentoring. The agency’s international, national and local mission focuses on remedying the impact of father absence.

Braswell wrote that under the inspiration of Muhammad Ali’s “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee; rumble young man rumble” rallying cry, representatives from those major urban cities came together in their own communities to address issues of black male achievement.

“We spend an awful amount of time laboring over the sobering and tragic statistics facing black males,” Braswell wrote. “As black men, we are way overdue to do something about it and to stop just talking about and waiting for someone to rescue us.”

Braswell is right. Black men have to solve their own problems.

I often have pointed out in this space that black men have to take responsibility and be accountable for their actions.

I wrote a column earlier this year on six young black men from the Mahoning Valley who vowed to hold one another accountable and strive to make a positive impact on society.

Reporter John W. Goodwin Jr. and I attended a positive discussion in March at Lucky Penny’s lounge in downtown Youngstown on the underpinnings of violence in the city and ways to combat it.

Braswell wrote that double-digit unemployment rates, incarceration, health disparities, low educational-attainment figures and violence are just a short list of items to be addressed for this population of men.

The email stated that in September in Louisville, Ky., Open Society Foundations hosted more than 75 leaders from around the country who gathered to address how they would mobilize efforts using the spirit of the Muhammad Ali center in that city and his legacy of principles.

According to its website, Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. “The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities,” the website says.

Another voice in the email was that of Phillip Jackson of Chicago, president of The Black Star Project, which Jackson founded in 1996 to improve the quality of life in black and Latino communities of Chicago and nationwide by eliminating the racial academic-achievement gap, according to the organization’s website.

“Much of why this work is so critical can be seen right here in Chicago where more black children died from gunfire in 2008 than Chicago soldiers died in Iraq,” Jackson wrote. “In addition to high levels of violence, 50 percent of all black men between the ages of 16 and 64 years old are jobless. These numbers are devastating our families and destroying our communities; and not unique to just Chicago.”

Indeed, in Youngstown most of the victims in the city’s 23 homicides this year were black males.

In addition to the November day-of-action planning, there also was a video conference to introduce and share information and explore solutions with a core group of men participating from each city.

Afterward, a report will be compiled that encapsulates strategic goals and tactics to address the multiplicity of issues facing the nation’s black males, Braswell wrote. The solutions to the issues of black males in America will be distributed nationwide, he said.

The Mahoning Valley has an organization called 100 Black Men of Greater Youngstown/Warren that supports many of the same principles as the Black Star Project and Fathers Inc.

The organization, founded five years ago this month, has mentoring, education and health and wellness programs available.

You can contact the group by going to its website at www.100bmogyw.com, go to its Facebook site, or call 330-333-2813.

I hope to contact Braswell later to find out the results of the report and share them with you.

Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator, writes a monthly column. You can contact him at ebrown@vindy.com


1borylie(950 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Do not have children if you can't give the time and resources to these children. This is a black and white problem,but it's the biggest problem.

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2Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"I often have pointed out in this space that black men have to take responsibility and be accountable for their actions."

That right that is the perfect comment. If only they would instead of excuses.

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

In Youngstown you have plenty of freedom to choose . You can choose either to win or to lose . Choose drugs, crime and your life will be short with little time . . ..

Many have proven this theory and plenty more are seconding it . . ..

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4Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Just a few examples......

"While I don't believe that Barack Obama used racial issues to get elected, I do believe that many of his supporters selectively use race to cover up some of his failures. Whenever President Obama is criticized over policy mistakes, his surrogates tend to play the race card, as if there's supposed to be something inherently morally wrong in such criticism."

Herman Cain
This Is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House.

""They make a very good point, the only time the race card is played is when it concerns black people and to be honest black people are very capable of enforcing stereotypes too.""

FAB to be Black: Do We Play the “Race Card” too Easily?
by Daphne Tona Weyalo


"In Stupid Black Men, he takes on the mind-set that always captures the most media attention — as well as masses of public money — in this country: those who rail against racism as the root of all problems, and who end up hurting precisely those they claim to be helping."

Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card -- And Lose
by Larry Elder


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5Sunny(25 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Once again, falconeddy, you are right on. I agree wholeheartedly with both of your posts. Well said.

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6webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Hey nutbags. Your stupefying ignorant comments are a new low bar in white supremacy. Where do you palefaces get off advising African Americans what to do about anything? Look at your own personal histories of crime, failure, and shirking of responsibility. Boo ! The world's peoples don't look to white guys' behavior for a standard against which to measure themselves.

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7Erinheleece(5 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

@feloneddy....Sometimes African Americans are treated unfairly because of their race. Sorry to tell you. It happens. If you are not an African American you will NEVER understand this...maybe you can relate a little because i'm sure you have been discriminated against for something, but you will NEVER totally understand being discriminated against because your "black". Sometimes young black men ARE pulled over just because they are black. Certain cops are like that. Are all of the cops like that NO! Do all employers not hire someone because they are black NO! But it does happen. I have witnessed it plenty of times. Now I am a person who does not condemn a race because of what one or two did, but believe me when I say that almost all of us (African American) have been discriminated against because of our race. No "playing a card" on that one. And yes...there ARE African Americans who will use the race excuse knowing that is not the reason why...I have witnessed that also! Truth is on all aspects there is no "perfection" in the matter, but you should believe me when I say our race does still bother some and affects how they treat us. If you ARE indeed an African American *which I doubt* I would find it HIGHLY amazing that you have not been disrespected EVER because of your race.

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8webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago


The guffaw moment in falconeddy's initial comment is during the reading of his #1, at the very top no less, of his list of edicts for the black person to obey. "1. Take education serious."

His grammar, part of an elementary school English course, is incorrect. He appears foolish lecturing others about education ... and then flubbing his brilliance by using the word 'serious' where the correct word would be 'seriously'. falconeddy flunks English Grammar 101.

I rest my case, made in my former comment above.

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9najjjj(106 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Falconeddy, You seem to have missed the point of the entire article. The group mentioned in the article is doing exactly what you asked for......striving to provide some solutions. Maybe their actions don't meet your standards simply because they are black men.

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10Erinheleece(5 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

lol@webad...I understand what you are saying about the "education" comment. Funny. Falconeddy, the solutions you wrote are not the issue here. Somewhere you wrote that white people want us to succeed on our merits not our color. That statement sounds like you are basically saying ALL white people want the best for us. Not true. In that case there wouldn't be any such thing as the "KKK" or the "Republican party" lol *joking about the republicans* But seriously, you cannot speak for all caucasion people. So maybe you should of said "some white people want you to succeed on your merits" that would be true. Your remarks in this last post ^^ shows me that you have A LOT of stereotypes for African Americans. What if I said this...assuming your caucasion *which i'm sure you are*

1. Go to college because your parents are going to pay your way through while you party, drink and rape girls

2. Get a job because you knew the manager and they pulled strings for you knowing you "under" qualified.

3. Get married and cheat on your wife with your secretary.

4. Or better yet become a priest and molest little boys

5. Always disrespect your parents by telling them "I hate you, go fu** yourself"

6. Steal millions of dollars from the company your working for.

7. When you hit 40 make sure you abduct a few young teenage girls. Become a serial killer better yet.

ALL STEREOTYPES! Doesn't feel good does it?

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11ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

I love these racial topics. Always brings out the best comments!

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12JustAthinker(2 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Hey FalconEddy, What do you think about the Black Man running for Sheriff. Jimmy Hughes who has the longest service record of the candidates. Who has the only post graduate degree of the candidates. And is the only candidate not being paid (still working on taxpayer dollars) while he campaigns for office. And to boot the homicide rate dropped every year he was Chief, this is confirmed by the Vindicators article today. For the year 2011 he was Chief until Sept 1 there were 8 homicides, the new chief made numerous changes and the homicide rate tripled 23 to date. And as for the savings, he allowed the "Swat Team" to come out three times this month alone at a cost of $10,000 a pop to handle calls that beat cars normally handled with two back up cars. Great training exercises at taxpayer expense. When are we going to stop attacking every Black man who works his butt off, and allow the same actions by his counterparts go unmentioned. Wake up Mahoning County and look at all the facts. Randall Wellington fired David Aey for running for Sheriff but his friend Greene not only can campaign on taxpayers dollar Wellington gives him a $68,000 dollar job to cushion his campaign. It is definitely time for Wellington to go, but who says he should pick his successor at our expense.

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13southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Well. I'm a little late to the comment party, but i just adore people in America: a nation built by immigrants who today, want to rid our country of immigrants...there will always be minorities...eventually the White race will be a minority.... interesting.

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