What is Black Male Achievement Portland?
The City of Portland was selected as one of 11 cities to participate in the National League of Cities’ Black Male Achievement Initiative to improve outcomes for Black men and boys.
Black Male Achievement Portland (BMA) is designed to work across public and private sectors and among jurisdictions to help improve the life outcomes of Black men and boys in four key areas: Education, Employment, Family Stability, and Criminal Justice.
Housed in the Office of Equity and Human Rights within Mayor Charlie Hales’ portfolio, BMA works with officials in Multnomah County government, as well as with for-profit and non-profit entities to create access to jobs and mentoring.
What is the BMA Mission and Vision?
Vision: Every Black male will have opportunity and access to health, safety, and success.
Mission: As a collaborative, the BMA will promote the beliefs and remove barriers that improve access to high quality and equitable employment, education, public safety, and communities.
What is it going to do?
BMA will engage officials at the state and local levels to advocate for policy and/or program change. BMA will use a data-driven approach to highlight disparities and hold systems and their leaders accountable for ensuring Black men and boys have sufficient access and opportunity to the factors that lead to health, safety, and success.
Next steps for Black Male Achievement Portland include: continuing to engage all community stakeholders and municipal leaders; advocating for community based solutions that effectively serve Black men and boys; and informing policies locally and statewide that impact Black men and boys.
Why focus exclusively on Black men and boys?
There is a window punctuated by President Obama’s announcement on February 4, 2014 of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to begin this area of work in focusing on Black men and boys. Black males face unique and persistent systemic barriers that demand a focused, holistic response. Their plight is a piece of larger conversation around the need to develop a more comprehensive strategy around racial and gender inequity. As BMA concentrates its efforts on breaking down the barriers facing Black men and boys in the areas of education, employment, family stability, and criminal justice, all communities will benefit and momentum around a broader strategy will emerge.
How does this intersect with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative?
The City of Portland is a signatory on the national My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The work of Black Male Achievement Portland is acknowledged by the White House as working in tandem with My Brother’s Keeper.
How is it different than other Black organizations?
BMA Portland is a collective of over 20 regional organizations represented by Black men that will act as convener, facilitator, policy guide, and collective voice to exert influence and push for change for the betterment of Black men and boys.
How is BMA funded?
Mayor Hales has committed $150,000 of funding in addition to monies that were set aside to fund summer youth employment. Additionally, BMA is having on-going discussions with philanthropic organizations.