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Finding ways to help young boys and men of color

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A summit in Flint this week will focus on doing more to help young African-American boys and men.

Organizers say young black men face limited educational and other opportunities.

Pastor Reggie Flynn says schools, businesses and churches are failing to meet the needs of young men of color in Flint.

“We have failed in the faith community because we haven’t engaged parents as we should.  We’ve become insular,” says Flynn. “Children shouldn’t be coming into our churches and leaving, and we know they cannot read.”

The summit is part of a White House initiative called “My Brother’s Keeper Challenge.

The six goals of the challenge are:

  • Ensuring all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally ready
  • Ensuring all children read at grade level by 3rd grade
  • Ensuring all youth graduate from high school
  • Ensuring all youth complete post-secondary education or training
  • Ensuring all youth out of school are employed
  • Ensuring all youth remain safe from violent crime

Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Michigan, took part in a news conference last week announcing the summit. He says he’s seen the change that takes place in young men of color as they grow older.

“Something happens to young boys and men of color as they go through the systems in the process of growing up in the community where they get left behind,” says Kildee. 

Organizers hope Wednesday’s summit will attract several hundred people interested in helping African-American boys and young men.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.