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Promise of Place: Building Beloved Communities for Black Men and Boys

by Jameelah Morris; Latrina Kelly-James; Robert Simmons; Sheba Rogers; Tammy Tai

Jan 24, 2018

To build beloved communities across America, where Black men and boys are healthy, thriving, and enabled to achieve their fullest potential—that is the Campaign for Black Male Achievement's (CBMA) core mission and rallying cry. Created before the perils of our current political and social climate, this mission, now more than ever, is necessary to ensure the nurturing, growth, and achievement of Black men and boys and that of our cities, communities, and nation.



Over the past year we have borne witness to the upending of our political system, which threatens to undermine efforts to improve life outcomes for Black men and boys. Basic human rights are at risk, and the dismantling of equitable measures implemented for people of color, the poor, and other marginalized communities threaten to leave already vulnerable communities without protection. After years of sweat and hard work in building nationwide initiatives, platforms, and voices that celebrate and elevate Black men and boys, we are again faced with adversity. Yet we remain resilient.



While the loss of federal support for Black Male Achievement (BMA) efforts can potentially create significant challenges in sustaining initiatives and momentum, it also presents an opportunity for cities to strengthen their leadership on behalf of Black men and boys; and engage the authentic voices of our youth to help shape the future of Black Male Achievement. The movement on the ground towards achieving success for Black men and boys is growing stronger. This is evident in the demonstrable strides cities are making towards acknowledging Black men and boys as viable and in need of elevation and love, and in the actionable steps being taken to protect, nurture, and strategically advance Black Male Achievement.



In this new report, The Promise of Place: Building Beloved Communities for Black Men and Boys, we highlight the progress made by the 50 cities in the Black Male Achievement (BMA) City Index featured in the first edition of the report released in 2015. We elevate not only the score for each city, but also how cities have used CBMA principles, indicators, and building blocks of progress to redefine Black Male Achievement in their city. There are impressive gains in cities materializing their commitment to Black men and boys, and this new Promise of Place report measures these gains both quantitatively and qualitatively for cities across the country. We identify where gaps exist in activity and investment, and propose steps to collectively mobilize and expand our resources to fill those gaps.

  • There is a 62 percent higher level of engagement for advancing Black male achievement across all 50 cities included in the index.
  • Detroit and Washington, D.C. remain the two highest scored cities for their level of engagement for advancing Black male achievement.
  • Jackson, MS, Seattle, WA, Omaha, NE, and Mobile, AL had the greatest progression in Black male achievement engagement scores since 2015.
  • Cities not captured in the first report—such as Denver, CO, and Yonkers, NY—have since become highly engaged in leading Black Male Achievement efforts.
  • Of the 50 cities scored, 92 percent have now accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge.
  • Of the nine national initiatives supporting Black men and boys, Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC), increased engagement in cities by 25 PERCENT, the largest increase across initiatives.
  • There is a 13 percent overall Increase in CBMA Membership.