October 27, 2014
“The impulse to dream was slowly beaten out of me by experience. Now it surged up again...”
― Richard Wright, Black Boy
Black Boy, Richard Wright’s lyrical, haunting autobiography, was published in 1945. What strikes me today is how, for so many of our boys and men of color, little has changed since then. For too many in our community, dreams have been deferred (or replaced) by the realities of harsh social and economic conditions. Too few of our young people are graduating from high school—and too many are unemployed. We can do better.
United Way of Greater Milwaukee is supporting the inaugural Boys and Men of Color Week for all the future Richard Wrights, and Bill Richardsons, and Vincent Lyles, and Ricardo Diaz’s, in our community, right now, who need to be given every opportunity to dream, to hope, to succeed. We are aligning our work with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The goals are bold but achievable:
- 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
Over the next week, there are events and activities throughout the community that will increase awareness around this critical topic, while promoting and elevating some of the great work that is already being undertaken. Please join us for the conversation, as we move from thinking to action, and from talking to walking.