How do you quantify hope? I've
been asking myself this question recently in my role leading the Open
Society Campaign for Black Male Achievement. The question increasingly
presses on my heart and mind during this current moment of intensified focus on
the disparities facing black men and boys in America, particularly with the
increased demand for evidenced-based outcomes and for lifting up what truly
I come in contact with leaders,
young and old, every day working hard to fuel the field of black male
achievement, who give me hope that lasting change is possible. This week, the
Foundation Center and their BMAfunders team
published a report that should provide the nation with a recipe for quantifying
hope for black men and boys.
The report attempts to answer the
question posed in the title of its 2012 companion report, Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and
Boys. It declares that we need to go where Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. described a generation ago as the Beloved Community-a nation fulfilling the
pledge of its founding promise of "justice for all."
With the recent announcement of the White
House's My Brother's Keeper Initiative, increased philanthropic
engagement through the Executives' Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and
Men of Color, and a groundswell of attention to this issue, there is an
opportunity for change that must be pursued with a sense of urgency.
But as Darren Walker,
CEO of the Ford Foundation, notes in the report, what is needed to effectively
respond to this moment is "bold, courageous leadership." And I
believe that is one way to quantify hope for the field of black male
achievement: supporting the many bold, courageous leaders across sectors who are
working to improve the life outcomes for black men and boys. Building a Beloved
Community provides us with glimpses of many such leaders.
We are moving in the right
direction, but we need to keep in mind that our commitment must be for the long
haul." Geoffrey Canada's words remind us that when it comes to the field of
black male achievement, we are the leaders that we've been waiting
Click Here to Download the Full
Report, Building A Beloved Community: Strengthening the
Field of Black Male Achievement
In March of 1967, taking note of
anti-war protests at his alma mater, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sent a telegram
care of Vincent Harding to the "men of conscience" at Morehouse commending their
courage and calling them his inspiration.
Days later in New York, King
delivered one of his most stinging criticisms of American involvement in
Vietnam. Harding, at the time an adviser to Morehouse students as well as to
King, is credited with writing that speech. Harding, 82, died Monday at the
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, according to Denver's Iliff School
of Theology, where Harding taught for many years.
In Denver, Harding's home since
coming to Iliff in 1981, he was remembered for his commitment to justice and
peace, and for his modesty. Former Denver City Council president Elbra
Wedgeworth said he never spoke much of his ties to King or other prominent civil
"He was just a real old school
gentleman who experienced a lot, but never let it make him bitter," Wedgeworth
said. "He just used those experiences to help other people."
Harding and his first wife,
Rosemarie Freeney Harding, who died in 2004, met King when they traveled from
Chicago to Atlanta to continue the civil rights work they had begun in the
Mennonite church. Harding became an adviser and friend to both King and Coretta
Scott King. He later served as the first director of what is now known as the
King Center in Atlanta.
Iliff president Thomas Wolfe said he had asked Harding
to deliver the commencement address scheduled for June 4. Instead of a
traditional speech, Harding suggested the kind of Socratic discussion he favored
in class. Three Iliff students had been recruited to take part.
"Vincent was saying, 'This is how
we pass the mantle from teacher to student, so the student becomes the
teacher,'" Wolfe said.
Harding is survived by his second wife, Aljosie Aldrich
Harding; daughter, Rachel Harding; and son, Jonathan Harding. Funeral plans were
not yet set.
Getting A College Degree Won't Protect Black
Workers From The Economy's Racial Barriers
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/CAROLYN
BY BRYCE COVERT
The unemployment rate for black workers has been significantly
higher than for white workers since government data has been collected.
But despite the fact that college graduates fare better in the job market,
getting a degree still doesn't mean black workers catch up with everyone
The unemployment rate has been higher for black
college graduates than for all graduates for decades, but the gap widened since
2007, according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy
Research. Black students who graduated during the recession fared even
worse. Between 2007 and 2013, black workers who had just graduated from college
saw their unemployment rate nearly triple, jumping from 7.8 percent to 12.4
But black college graduates don't just have to deal with higher
unemployment rates. Those who manage to get a job aren't necessarily getting to
put their degrees to use. Recent grads fared even worse: 44 percent of recent
graduates ended up in these jobs, but for black ones, the rate has averaged
about 50 percent since 2003, and in 2013, it shot up 10 percentage points to
That means more than half of black people who
graduated from college in recent years were in jobs that didn't use their
The economy is heavily tilted against black people. In
a study of entry-level job openings, equally qualified black job applicants were
half as likely as white ones to get a call back or an offer.
Black women have been particularly dogged in recent years in
graduating college: they made up two-thirds of all black students who
finished a Bachelor's Degree in 2010 and 71 percent with a Master's. But they
still struggle in other ways: when they're working full-time, year-round, they
make 64 percent of what white men make and less than both white women and black
come out with your friends and family to make Chicago safer. Please call
773.285.9600 to join us to bring "Peace In The Hood" throughout
Calling All Fathers, Stepfathers, Foster Fathers,
Grandfathers, Godfathers, Uncles,
Brothers and Male Caregivers!
Million Fathers Club
Major League Baseball
May 27, 2014 - 7:10 pm
Chicago White Sox
U.S. Cellular Field 35th and the Dan
Black Star Members
Fathers Club Members
Please call 773.285.9600 to RSVP or for more
information about this game. Men and women of all races, ethnicities and faith
backgrounds may and should attend this event with their children.
Sunday, June 15, 2014,
200 Churches Will Celebrate
"Take A Young Black Man
With 75% of young Black males 16 to 24 years old in New York City not
working, with the leading cause of death for young Black men in American being
homicide, with 92% of Black males in Chicago not being able to read
proficiently, and with nearly 50% of the 2.3 million prisoners in prisons in
America being mostly young Black men, the questions arise, "What
would Jesus do in these times?" And the answer is, He would
take a young Black man to worship!
Father's Day is a great time for you and your
place of worship to make a commitment to help and support young Black men.
Please tell your pastor, iman, rabbi or priest that you want your place
of worship to "Take A young Black Man To Worship" on June 15, 2014.
Please call Vince at 773.285.9600 receive an organizing guide and to
join the list of faith organization across America that will participate in this