The BYMOC Collective engages boys and young men of color to redress the racist policy and practice gaps to close the opportunity gaps they experience to improve their quality of life.
In partnership with Columbus City Council President Shannon G. Hardin, Dr. James L. Moore, III, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer and Executive Director for Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center (BNRC) on the African American Male, secured a $300,000 grant to develop the Boys & Young Men of Color (BYMOC) Collective to close opportunity gaps for Columbus young men of color. The BYMOC Collective will serve as the citywide backbone organization to develop and drive policy, investment allocation, and practice recommendations to Columbus policymakers, funders, and young men of color serving programs and organizations in Columbus.
For decades, Columbus and many communities across the country have sought redress for the historical inequities young men of color experience because of structural racism via a programmatic rather than a sustained, collective, systemic approach. This charge was renewed in 2014 when then Mayor Michael B. Coleman accepted President Obama's My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Challenge efforts to close the following opportunity gaps:
- Getting a healthy start and entering school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally ready to learn
- Reading at grade level by third grade
- Graduating from high school ready for college and career
- Completing postsecondary education or training
- Successfully entering the workforce
- Keeping kids on track and giving them second chances
Although deep-seeded challenges persist, some guideposts have emerged along the journey toward equitable outcomes for young men of color. Many leaders in the City of Columbus have begun to recognize that using data to dismantle and correct racist policies, practices, and procedures requires organizations and institutions to work together to achieve collective goals that will enrich the quality of life for Columbus young men of color.
Undoing the work of 401 years of legally-sanctioned racial oppression requires having tough discussions about race, structural racism, and revisiting American history, with a lens of equity and respect for marginalized populations (i.e., young men of color) and their contributions to the birth and development of this nation. The combination of honest conversations about race—and relearning the hard and inspiring truth about the origin and progress of our country (and city) together—may be the most effective mechanism to achieve sustainable and racially equitable outcomes. The success of this model necessitates that individual biases and behavior and organizational culture and practice evolve to actualize the desired racially equitable outcomes.
First year deliverables that will establish the BYMOC Collective as the knowledge lead and catalyst for policy changes to achieve equitable outcomes for Columbus young men of color include:
- Collaborating with existing BYMOC serving programs and organizations to identify what is real and true in the lives of Columbus young men of color and those serving them.
- Establish three community wide young men of color goals/common agenda
- Source and disseminate research-informed activities, practices, and policies that engage and support young men of color
- Host in-person/online training, webinar, and forum session for BYMOC and BYMOC providers and stakeholders
- Publish BYMOC Collective Resource Directory
- Identify racial access/opportunity/achievement gaps and solutions
- Establish cross-sector workgroups
Under the leadership of co-lead, Dr. Moore, who is internationally recognized for his research and work with BYMOC, the BNRC's charge, expertise, and foci directly align with My Brother's Keeper and Columbus City Council President Shannon G. Hardin's large-scale goals. Moreover, the BNRC's location and infrastructure, and the addition of community co-lead Dr. Keisha J. Hunley-Jenkins, Esq., uniquely positions the BYMOC Collective to accomplish this critical community-wide collective impact work with Columbus City Council financial support of $300,000 for the BYMOC Collective's first year operations: October 2020 – October 2021.