The National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families has advanced Milwaukee and 10 other cities to the next phase of its City Leadership to Promote Black Male Achievement initiative.
Advancing to the second phase of the technical assistance grant program means that the cities now qualify for intensive aid in the year ahead through site visits, cross-site conventions and ongoing consultation—all of it focused on reducing the disparities that affect young Black males in the community.
“The City of Milwaukee can acquire a tremendous amount of information from the National League of Cities when it comes to improving the outcomes of disadvantaged demographic groups,” said Alderman Joe Davis, Chair of the city’s Community and Economic Development Committee and a member of NLC’s Board of Directors.
“But just as importantly, this grant plugs us into a network of peer cities which have waged their own battles against economic and racial disparities.”
Alderman Davis has spearheaded efforts to qualify for the NLC’s technical assistance grants, which have included the creation of a Black Male Achievement Advisory Council.
The BMAAC is charged by the NLC with identifying local challenges and opportunities, exploring policies and strategies that have the potential to make an impact on outcomes for black males and developing mechanisms to evaluate and sustain progress over time.
The NLC will now provide Milwaukee with a framework and process for the development of comprehensive local action plans, informed by structured conversations with national experts and federal agency representatives.
This support will include bi-monthly calls with teams from the city, bi-monthly peer learning conference calls or webinars, site visits to Milwaukee and crosssite conventions.
“Our selection to participate in this program is a recognition of the time and effort we have already expended in combating these problems,” Alderman Davis said.
“Now, with the assistance of the NLC, we can really begin to make some headway against the disparities that contribute to the economic, social and moral challenges that Milwaukee faces.”
Alderman Davis sees Milwaukee ’s recent flare up of violent crime as the most pressing concern in need of a solution, and hopes that with the NLC’s support, the community can play an active role in ending the bloodshed.
“The African American community must claim ownership of black on black violence, define it as real, and accept that it is our problem to solve,” Alderman Davis said.
Supported by the Open Society Foundation’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement, the NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families has joined with PolicyLink to support the initiative. PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity.
With support from the Casey Family Programs, participating cities will be reimbursed for attending a cross-site meeting for the Black Male Achievement Technical Assistance Initiative in November.