Researchers from Jawanza Kunjufu to Na’im Akbar agree that society must make a greater effort and focus more resources to reach
African-American boys ages 10-16. Even with the recent growth and revitalization in North Lawndale community, we face serious challenges in the areas of community safety and academic underachievement, particularly amoung our African-American young men. In the past four years, over 10,000 North Lawndale boys were arrested and placed into the juvenile court system. According to Congressman Danny K. Davis, 70% of all adult men in North Lawndale ages 18-45 are ex-offenders. Homicide is the leading cause of death among African-American men between the ages of 15-24 years old. In Illinois, there are more than 10,000 more African-American males in prison or on parole than are enrolled in college. In North Lawndale, less than 35% of African-American young men graduate from high school, and less than 5% earn a bachelor’s degree. If African-American young men are essential assets of a healthy community, more must be done. Reaching African-American youth is a life or death proposition.
At YMEN, we have been a community leader in providing significant resources and holistic youth programming, including academic support, leadership development activities, community service opporutunites to young men in the North Lawndale community. YMEN was recognized as “one of the outstanding youth leadership development organizations in Chicago” by Professor Joseph Kahn (Universtiy of Illinois, Chicago).