Black male students are in crisis in America.
According to the Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, African American boys are the lowest performing students in 46 states. The Breaking Barriers Report, produced by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, indicates that Black boys are more likely to live in a home where their father doesn’t live. Other troubling statistics say that Black boys are more likely to attend a school where the teachers are not certified in science and math, and are more likely to live in a household that falls below the federal poverty line.
Yes, Black boys are in crisis, but they also have the potential to be tomorrow’s great leaders.
On Saturday, Nov. 6, Washington Koen Media will open a dialogue about these challenges with a screening and discussion of its documentary Beyond the Bricks (BTB), a film that chronicles the lives of two African American boys as they struggle to stay on track in the Newark, New Jersey public school system.
The event will be held at Community College of Philadelphia in the Great Hall of the Winnet Building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The dismal statistics that we hear about on a regular basis seem to have diminished our hope and drowned out the voices of African American boys, causing us to throw up our hands and assume that there are no answers. But beyond these statistics are real stories of real children. If we just took a moment to listen, we would recognize the tremendous capacity of these children and be inspired to realize that the primary remedy is about us coming together, rolling up our sleeves, and finding real solutions that protect, uplift, and build supportive environments for all our children.
In Beyond the Bricks, young men tell their own stories and share what they believe are solutions. Viewers will see the difference it makes in a child’s life when the community steps in and be given examples of success when public and education policymakers work together to address the needs of children
More than a film, Beyond the Bricks is also a national community engagement campaign that is asking communities nationwide to step up and take on this challenge to stop the rhetoric and begin to effectively work together to improve the lives of African American boys.
With the support of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement at Open Society Institute and local partners around the country, Washington Koen Media has embarked on a 10-city tour to empower communities to love and safeguard our children.
The film will bring together parents, community leaders, policy advocates, educators, and students to share and promote local and national models that are working, look at new ideas, and plan together to finally address the issues that Black males and their communities are facing. The time is now!
Ouida Washington is co-founder of Washington Koen Media and producer of Beyond the Bricks Project.
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