Opportunities abound in Seattle, yet disparities persist for young black men related to economic, educational, and social outcomes. These disparities manifest themselves in many ways: A disproportionately high impact of violence, reduced access to opportunity, and perceived lower levels of well-being. In recent years, Seattle has seen an increase in youth involved in shootings and domestic violence and this violence has disproportionately affected communities of color.
However, to position this work as simply about deficits is to perpetuate the idea that young black men are problems to be fixed. In our conversations with youth themselves, as well as the providers who serve them, we heard several key messages loud and clear:
- That we are not the other.
- That we are not a problem to be fixed.
- That we are fathers and brothers and sons.
- That you see us, and value us, and need us.
Through these conversations, the innovation team struck upon a powerful truth: the health of black men is essential to the health of society. Our portfolio seeks to reduce the impact of violence on young black men while providing access to opportunities that are needed to thrive, and we recognize that this is only the start of a focused City effort to support and empower young black men in Seattle to be their best.
Theory of Change