Philadelphia, December 15, 2015 — Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed a City Council ordinance sponsored by Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. that authorizes a ballot question to establish and define the responsibilities of an independent and permanent Commission on African-American Males in the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter. The question will appear on the ballot in April 2016.
“The Commission on African-American Males has been an important tool in supporting and addressing the challenges that impact African-American males in Philadelphia. Making permanent the Commission ensures that African-American males, and their perspective, will be heard throughout our local government,” said Mayor Nutter. “Philadelphia cannot move forward unless every resident has the opportunity to be successful. I welcome this change to the City’s Home Rule Charter and look forward to the voters approving it.”
The question that will appear on the ballot for voters to answer is as follows:
“Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to provide for the creation, appointment, powers and duties of an independent Commission on African American Males, which would study and recommend responses to challenges facing African American males in Philadelphia?”
“The Commission has already begun some great work and now we have the opportunity to make the Commission permanent. We need to continue to look at the lack of access to quality education and economic opportunities for African American males and how that affects their daily lives,” said Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. “The cost of the commission is minimal but not doing anything will be have a far greater impact. I implore the electors to make this commission permanent.”
If approved, the Commission on African-American Males will have 30 members appointed by the Mayor from constituencies that include but are not limited to government, business, education, labor, health and service organizations. At least three members must be between the ages of 18-35. The Commission will be led by co-chairs, who will be designated by the Mayor. Appointments will be made within 60 days of the Commission’s creation and vacancies will be filled within 30 days, once established.
The Commission’s duties will include advising the Mayor, City Council and City agencies and departments on proposed ordinances, legislative matters and policies that are of concern to African-American males and preparing an annual report on its activities, goals and accomplishments.
The Commission, which was originally formed by Mayor W. Wilson Goode, Sr. in 1991 and re-established by Mayor Nutter in 2011, was asked to create a report with recommendations on how to improve conditions for African-American men and boys.
“This recommendations report is a follow up to the report presented to the mayor in February 2014, right before President Obama announced his ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative, and it embodies the work of the Mayor’s Commission on African American Males and provides a snapshot of the current state of African American males in Philadelphia along with some key recommendations and what we believe is the way forward,” said the Co-chairs of the Mayor’s Commission on African-American Males.
The Commission on African-American Males also updated the Mayor on its work over the last year and presented Mayor Nutter with its 2015 Recommendations Report.
Highlights from the Commission’s work over the last year include:
- Launching the Rebuilding the Village series in the Strawberry Mansion, Kingsessing and West Philadelphia neighborhoods;
- Supporting local initiatives with national implications and profiles, like My Brother’s Keeper Philadelphia, Cities United, BMe and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement;
- Co-sponsoring the Black Male Organizations 2015 Mayoral Forum; and
- Supporting the work of non-profit and philanthropic agencies that address issues affecting the African-American community.
The Report’s recommendations are 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 pathways to future opportunities.
The full report is available: http://www.phila.gov/newsletters/MayorsCommissionAAMales.pdf.