Beyond Plight: Defining Pathways to Optimal Development for Black Men and Boys Across the Life Course

by Leon D. Caldwell; Mark S. McDaniel

Jan 1, 2017

Beyond Plight: Defining Pathways to Optimal Development for Black Men and Boys across the Life Course is ABFE's contribution for creating better lives for us, and, by extension, our world. It is a long title, which challenges us to look beyond quick solutions. The observations and recommendations within Beyond Plight were based upon input from funders and practitioners who have invested resources and brain power into better outcomes for Black men and boys – some for their entire professional careers. We connected with key thought leaders, whose names you find on page three. These are people who have been committed to this work for some time and even invoke their lived & shared experiences – this isn't theory. It also continues the work of practitioners who looked into the early childhood aspects of optimal development, through our previously released report, titled, "Exceeding Expectations: A Shared Vision for Impact and Definitions of Success for Black Men and Boys".

  • Five primary protective factors include a positive economic environment, culturally responsive service systems, a positive community environment, caregiver competencies, and positive social networks.
  • Elements of collective impact/responsibility on behalf of Black men and boys should include the following: common agenda, shared system of measurement, continuous communication, mutually reinforcing activities, and backbone support organizations.
  • Foundational and 21st century competencies that support resilience in the face of likely economic turbulence: learning (growth) mindset; entrepreneurial acumen and contextual intelligence; personality traits; cultural elasticity; positive racial, cultural, and gender identity; and basic human developmental competencies.