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How Much Does Louisville Invest in the Success of Black Men and Boys?

Laura Ellis

Black men and boys face disparities in employment, education and policing across the country — and some cities are taking more steps to address it than others.

That's what the first-ever Black Male Achievement City Index measures. The report was released Thursday by the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, a national membership organization that seeks to build black leadership.

It scored Louisville in the middle of the pack nationwide.

Scores are based on factors such as whether a city has philanthropic groups and leadership initiatives focused on helping black men and boys succeed.

Rashid Shabazz, a Program Officer with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, said that while it's important to understand what the challenges are, this effort looks more at who is trying to solve them and how.

"We like to focus on what are the actions that cities are taking, what are the steps that cities can take to move an agenda forward," he said.

Louisville scored 51 out of 100 possible points on the index, placing the city near the middle of the top 50 scorers. The national average score was 53.

Daryle Unseld, senior community manager for the Metro United Way, said the numbers in Louisville reflect national trends. He’s happy with the result.

“I think it’s a great start," Unseld said. "I think we have the urgency and the opportunity to do more. While we can celebrate some successes, I think we also need to be cognizant that we have a lot of work to do.”

The score does not measure the quality of life of black men by city, nor does it necessarily reflect the ideal places for black men and boys to live. Some of the high-scoring cities also have high rates of violence, or have had high-profile police shootings of black men.

While Shabazz acknowledges that may seem odd, he stressed that the report didn't factor in violence — only positive efforts.

"We want to spotlight these initiatives and efforts that are moving forward in the midst of the peril and the challenge that folks are facing," he said. "These are glimmers of hope."

Featured image from Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.