Standing in front of City Hall Tuesday, Sacramento City Council member Lauren Hammond told a small crowd that young black men are the first to be disengaged from society.
"Our graduation rate has plummeted. Every bad index that you can think of we are leading in. It’s just because we’re black – let’s be real. We can’t replace bad parenting, but we can create a network of support."
According to figures released by the Greater Sacramento Urban League, up to 30% of black men live below the poverty line. The group’s president – James Shelby – says one way to fix that is to start a comprehensive employment program targeting low-income youth.
"So we’re asking the small business community to hire these young males for a minimum of 24 hours a week over a 3-year period."
The Urban League is also proposing a gang prevention program and a health task force to look at ways of lowering the high mortality rate of black males. Shelby says the league plans to work with city and county leaders in the coming months.