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Summit Focuses on Saving Young Black Males

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 19 Mar 2014 12:11am | comments

Social workers, pastors and other community leaders are in Jackson discussing the plight of Mississippi's  young Black men.  MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports on their efforts.

When President Barack Obama recently introduced his Am I My Brother’s Keeper initiative,  it kick-started a conversation on how to improve the odds for minority boys who often lack achievement, education and employment opportunities.   During yesterday’s summit in Jackson, Derrick Johnson, State President of the NAACP gave a chilling account of what's happening to young Black men.

"African American males have higher percentage dropout rates. African American males are more likely to be entangled to criminal justice system. African American males are in a cycle of critical need in terms of health. All those things create a demand for attention that this summit provide social workers who are practitioners in the field to figure out  methods and modes to address those concerns and ways that we can improve the quality of life not only for African American males but the community as a whole. "

Reverend C.J. Rhodes is the Director of Student Religious Life at Alcorn State University. He says the best way to address the issue is by identifying key areas. 

"The roles of grandfathers, the roles of fathers in the lives of young people, how policies impact. Social workers can be of great value, foster care services. Looking at these various institutions and structures and say how do we identity the needs of young black boys and how do we meet those needs?"

"The church is the key to us helping to shape and mold these young people."

That's Dr. Linda West, Executive Director of Mississippi Families for Kids.

"Because there is one on every corner, they can be mentors. They got all kinds of men in those churches. So when you look at the greatest tool, if you want things to change the church would be a great place to start."

West says the group’s goal is  to develop a plan of action to  address the outcomes of African American males in Mississippi. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.

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