Philadelphia, February 24, 2014 – Members of the Mayor’s Commission on African-American Males presented a report on the state of African-American men and boys in Philadelphia to Mayor Michael A. Nutter this afternoon. The report provides detailed analysis with recommendations for the improvement of conditions for African-American men and boys in the City of Philadelphia.
The Commission on African-American Males was originally formed under former Mayor, W. Wilson Goode, Sr., at the end of his term in 1991. After remaining dormant for about 20 years, Mayor Nutter re-established the Commission on September 15, 2011. Mayor Nutter asked the newly appointed commissioners to create a report with recommendations on how to improve conditions for African-American men and boys in Philadelphia.
“I was honored to re-establish a body that would comprehensively address the issues of African-American men and boys in Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “More than twenty years ago, Mayor Goode recognized the challenges unique to the African-American male community – and these challenges are even more entrenched today. Philadelphia cannot move forward as a city unless all of its residents are on the path to success.”
The Mayor’s Commission on African-American Males (MCAAM) encourages the development and implementation of policies, programs and practices specifically intended to improve conditions affecting the cultural, social, economic, political, education, health and general well-being of African-American males residing in Philadelphia. The Commission is empowered to make recommendations to all relevant and appropriate stakeholders relating to the improvement of conditions in Philadelphia for African-American men and boys.
“This report is the most significant work done to date in the city that addresses the challenges face by African-American men and boys,” said Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode, Sr. “The Commission worked hard to develop these realistic recommendations. Mayor Nutter is to be congratulated for embracing them. No other City, and no other Mayor, has implemented such far-reaching programs to advance the cause of African-American men and boys.”
The Co-chairs of the Commission are Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode, Sr. and Bilal Qayyum, President of the Father’s Day Rally Committee, Inc. The commission membership consists of, but is not limited to, representatives from the following sectors: government, business, education, labor, health, and civic organizations with an emphasis on service. The MCAAM is composed of several subgroups (Committees) of the full Commission, which meet regularly to formulate policy recommendations in the areas of Education, Criminal Justice, Jobs and Economic Development, and Health. Commission members are not compensated and serve at the pleasure of the Mayor.
The MCAAM worked with government officials, policy makers and community members to develop a list of recommendations. In October and November 2012, the MCAAM invited citizens to participate in “Listening Sessions” across the City. The listening sessions provided opportunities for members of vulnerable communities to inform the MCAAM on what they wanted to see happen for Black males in Philadelphia and yielded some preliminary information upon which to frame the Commission’s focus.
The list of recommendations is intended to foster opportunities for African-American males in Philadelphia to strive toward safety and well-being in their communities, gain sufficient preparation for available opportunities and cultivate access pathways to future opportunities. Recommendations include developing partnerships with local colleges and universities to increase access to education, cultivating a Black Male-developed technology community, and promoting healing and wellness in communities that consider the impact of intergenerational trauma.
The work of the Mayors Commission on African-American Males has up to this point focused on developing a set of recommendations and policy actions that ultimately were accepted and supported by the Mayor of Philadelphia. The commission will now enter a new phase of its work to support implementation, monitoring and reporting on the outcomes of the recommended policy actions. It is the intention of the commission to engage the community in its work moving forward and sustain its work past the current Mayor’s administration.