The Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement (OBME) operates as the only office of its kind in the United States of America. As an intentional branch of Philadelphia’s local governmental structure, the Office looks to serve as a “voice” and liaison between individuals/ organizations and local government. Utilizing a policy-driven – collective impact model, OBME leads the City’s work around closing the opportunity divide for men and boys of color.
OBME works to align and focus resources and initiatives towards the specific goal of reducing economic and social disparities along with improving outcomes for Black men and boys and the communities in which they live. The overarching purpose of OBME also includes a focus on serving Latino, Asian, immigrant and other populations of men and boys in the City of Philadelphia.
In February of 2016, Mayor James F. Kenney appointed Jack Drummond to lead the office.
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Highlighted March Event:
Organized by Octavius Blount, Coordinator (Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement) – Hidden Figures of Social Change is a spoken word event that will allow an inter-generational group to express & display their talents and appreciation for those iconic figures of Black History and acknowledge their efforts through words. In addition to celebrating Black History, we would like to show our love and appreciation to our Black women in connection with the month of March and Women’s History Month.
Location: Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books 5445 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144
Date: March 17, 2018
Time: 5pm – 7pm
March – Letter from Chair of Mayor’s Commission on African American Males:
March 6, 2018
The Mayor’s Commission on African American Males recommends the inclusion of at least two African American males on the School Board of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has the third largest African American population in the nation and one of the highest concentrations of African American males among large American cities (United States Census, 2011). The School District of Philadelphia reflects these trends with 48 percent of all students identifying as African American and nearly half identifying as African American males (School District of Philadelphia, 2017). These items considered, Philadelphia is on the verge of allowing inequitable representation of African American males to take hold of the City’s school board. At current, only two of the 27 nominees for Philadelphia School Board membership are African American males. This equates to a dismal seven percent makeup of the pool of nominees in a City where African American boys make up nearly 25 percent of the students in Philadelphia public school classrooms. If even just one of the nominees is excluded from membership on the Board, it will equate to more than a 50 percent underrepresentation of African American males on the Board.
The near exclusion of African American males from the Philadelphia School Board is disheartening and threatens to continue a trend of overlooking needs specific to the African American male experience in education. Needs that include addressing the overrepresentation of African American males in classrooms for students with learning disabilities, in dropouts and the resulting overrepresentation in Philadelphia jails and state penitentiaries may be underserved simply due to a lack of advocates (Waters, 2015; Wolfers, Leonhardt, & Quealy, 2015). At a figure of about 30,000, African American male Philadelphians are currently completing jail sentences at numbers resemblant of the number of degree holders among this group. Our inability to meet the needs of African American male students in Philadelphia public schools continues to serve as a factor in this phenomena.
To that end, equitable representation for African American males through the Philadelphia School Board is bigger than education. Our ability to adequately serve African American male students within our school district directly impacts the social, economic, physical, and mental well being for nearly a quarter of our city. Indirectly, our ability to accomplish this task impacts us all. The height of what’s at stake is beyond words. The potential for a maintained school-to-prison and school-to-morgue pipeline among this group speaks volumes. A lack of equitable representation for the City’s African American males on the Philadelphia School Board will speak louder.
Thank you for your consideration of this recommendation.
Darren Lipscomb, Ed.D.
Mayor’s Commission on African American Males