Illinois Congressman Calls on President
To Convene Commission on Black MalesAs a result of the State of the African American Male initiative, national leaders are calling on President George W. Bush to convene a Presidential Commission to seek solutions regarding the dismal quality of life for millions of African American males in this country.
In a letter to President Bush, U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., said, “Based upon statistical data, it is my contention that conditions relating to African American males are continuing to decline and thereby require intervention. For example, the unemployment rate among African American males is approximately 31.9 percent, which is triple the national average. African American males make up 6 percent of the total population and account for 48 percent of the prison population. According to the Census Bureau, 30 percent of African American males under 18 live below the poverty line.”
Leaders are concerned that 4.4 million African American males are not in the labor force, and almost 21 percent have no high-school diploma.
Davis requested that a Presidential Commission examine issues affecting African American males and their families as they relate to criminal justice, health care, social responsibilities, education and barriers to employment.
In one of many efforts to review the state of African American males, Davis, the NAACP, the National Urban League, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and other organizations convened a high-level meeting a few weeks ago, evaluating and discussing issues that impact this population (see Black Issues, Nov. 6, 2003).
Among other reasons, Davis started this initiative after he began to seriously study the alarming numbers of ex-offenders being released in America. Last year, over 630,000 people were released from jails and prisons across this country and in some states, the recidivism rate is over 50 percent. In 1998, 44 percent of the re-entering population was African American.
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