These goals seek to further the abilities of these young men, who grew up in a world that gives them ample examples of the price of business as usual. However they sit at a point of change, to move the needle is a different direction.
On its face, sure, the President's initiative seems small. In fact the $150 million that has already been invested in the program could probably go a long way to improving circumstances for male youth of color in Chicago alone. But it is a step in the right direction.
Clearly, making education equal will not eliminate all of the structural racism in our society. But equal education would certainly provide our black youth a better chance at survival and success, which is what President Obama is trying to do.
As I look back at my childhood, it was the advice that my mother, grandmother and elders had instilled in me that still resides in my now adult conscience. So here is what I've learned and my only hope is that others will carry it on.
In the wake of the Zimmerman acquittal, I have been asking myself a hard question: If I want to be taken seriously when I say something is amiss that bothers me, how can I turn a deaf ear to the cries of others when they raise concerns of racial profiling and injustice?
The disheartening yet unsurprising result in the Trayvon Martin case has been the subject of incessant conversations with both French and American friends in France, where I am working presently. What has struck me in these discussions is how universal a tragedy the Trayvon Martin story is.
It is not only the lack of appreciation for the historical context that dulls people's understanding and analysis, it is also the fact that some people regard black aspiration in sports as a result of natural ability in athletics along with a concomitant lack of intellectual ability.
Three attributes, which are non-existent in many urban schools today, pervaded my school environment: a humanized educational environment; teachers who believed in us and expected us to learn; and punishment, which was not as a means to criminalize students for adolescent behavior.
We are committed to working with any and all individuals and organizations committed to stemming the tide of violence and combating the systemic challenges that threaten the lives of Black and Latino youth.
We forget that black youth have important ideas to offer during critical discussions about issues directly affecting their lives. Black youth voices are routinely rendered invisible. It's a dilemma that the documentary Woke Up Black addresses head-on.
While we mourn Hadiya and all the young people in Chicago who are the victims of gun violence, the Black Youth Project is still waiting for the president to comprehensively address gun violence in the city.
We can start with gun control legislation. President Obama is in his second term and now is in a position to take action. Public opinion is on his side. Let's put pressure on our legislators to make sure this happens.
The lost lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School have something to say to the entire nation, but especially to black America. We'll have blood on our hands if we miss this moment to protect the lives of inner-city youth who more than most are subject to random acts of violence and death.
Dunn claims he acted in self-defense, and that he felt "threatened" before opening fire on the vehicle. His attorney argues that Dunn "acted responsibly." He is now calling on a legal hook for his view that his actions were warranted: Florida's deeply misguided "stand your ground" law.
Even if you weren't aware of Phoebe Prince, the story probably seems all too familiar these days. You feel a little sick to your stomach. You are stunned by yet another horrible story of virulent, unchecked bullying. What is happening in our schools? Our neighborhoods?
As the 2012 election approaches it is important to realize how young people of color are using new media to amplify their voices in the political realm. Are we prepared to embrace their innovation and support their engagement?
The young men who are groomed to epitomize hyper-superficiality have a generation of young women who are encouraged to select their mates based on what the person has financially and materially as opposed to who the person is on the inside.