The Uncommon Man

December 30, 2008

Study finds black teen killing rate up

***This articles serves as a reminder of why engaging men in violence prevention is relevant and it is important to note, as it is illustrates in the article, that this is an issue of young Black men killing other young Black men.***

Black teenagers are killing each other in rising numbers as part of a troubling trend that has been masked by a falling crime rate in the United States, according to a new study released today by Northeastern University.

FBI crime statistics show overall decreases in violent crime and murder. But amid those numbers, the report by criminal justice professors James Alan Fox and Marc Swatt found other disturbing trends.

Among their findings: an increase of more than 39 percent in the number of black males between ages 14-17 killed between 2000 and 2007 and an increase of 34 percent in the number of blacks that age who committed homicide.

The increases for white male teens, meanwhile, were nearly 17 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

“We can’t ignore that hidden in the overall good news is very bad news for a segment of the population, young black males, and they need our attention,” Fox said.

Fox calls for an infusion of government money to beef up police forces and restore mentor, sports, after-school and summer programs that withered as federal funds were redirected from cities to homeland security after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

“We need to invest much more in the lives of these kids,” Fox said. “I know there’s lot of people who say times are tough and we don’t have the money, but we either pay for these programs now or pray for these victims later because crime doesn’t wait until the economy improves.”

Fox emphasizes that despite problems highlighted in his report, crime isn’t out of control.

The report indicates guns are overwhelmingly the weapon of choice for young black offenders and are now used in nearly 85 percent of all homicides they commit, matching 1990s levels. The Rev. Jeffrey Brown, executive director of the anti-crime Ten Point Coalition in Boston, said the spike in gun murders by and on young blacks “bears out what I see on the streets every day.”

“The victim and perpetrators of gun crimes are getting younger and younger,” he said.

By Associated Press | Monday, December 29, 2008 | | Local Coverage
Article URL:

Posted by Aaron Buford at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2008

Nigerian collegue wins Disney Grant

Grassroots Development and Empowerment (GRADE) in Nigeria, founded by our colleague and friend, Patrick Amah, recently won a Disney Minnie Grant. The following is a report, written by Patrick, about the awareness that the grant has inspired.

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD 2008) celebration

Peer Educators being tested on their knowledge of the Child's Rights Act for qualification to educate others.


Grassroots Development and Empowerment (GRADE) Foundation was awarded a Disney Minnie Grant to lead a community service campaign on Global Youth Service Day (GYSD 2008) celebrated every April. It is the largest service event in the world. These grants support young people between the ages of 5 and 14 years old in planning and implementing service projects in their community. Disney Minnie Grant winners were selected by Youth Service America (YSA) and sponsored by Disney and in our own case, because of the importance of the service project, supported by the Afikpo South (Edda) Local Government Council in Ebonyi State, Nigeria.

With 13 year old Master Chima Amah (an SS1 student of Teresa Montessori College, Afikpo as the Lead Youth Organizer - mentored by our organization), the GYSD 2008 celebration in Afikpo South LGA of Ebonyi State disseminated information on the Child's Rights Act 2003 in the rural schools/communities in the LGA; trained in-school youth and teachers to become advocates of Child's Rights protection in their respective schools/communities. Child's Rights Clubs were formed in the 10 pilot participating schools across the LGA which was inaugurated on the celebration day by Mrs. Cecilia Nkama who represented the Deputy Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Mrs. Dorothy Obasi.

130 school youth (71 males and 59 females) and 20 teachers (10 males and 10 females) participated in the training and were trained as Peer Educators on the Child's Rights Act after which the participating youth were tested (by written test) on the Child's Rights Act to test their understanding of the Act as a prerequisite to qualify them to teach others through their various Child's Rights Clubs.

8 Physically Challenged persons (youth) and 467 in and out-of-school youth were also present at the celebration and the leader of the Girls Guides in Afikpo South LGA who represented her organization.

The service project was generally heralded as 85% of the rural populace (including teachers) in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State never heard about the existence of the Child's Rights Act 2003. The Child's Rights Act 2003 was signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003. From the year of its passage into law to date (April 2008), over 85% of rural in-school youth, their teachers and rural community members never knew of, nor heard about the existence of such law protecting the rights of children in Nigeria.

Our organization is therefore happy to be associated with Youth Service America who approved our application to carry out this very important service project especially Disney for the Minnie Grant awarded to us. We totally agree with the President of YSA who said "it is an honour to work with Disney who is committed to youth serving around the world. This yearly programme increases the scale and visibility of youth serving around their community and helps young people around the world play a leading role in addressing important community needs by giving their time, energy, commitment and idealism. It should be appreciated that millions of young people serving together in their communities, performing strategic service send powerful message of hope and healing around the globe."

We have also discovered that engaging youth in matters affecting them or their communities is a wonderful opportunity to encourage today's youth to be part of making our world a better place to live.

The Executive Chairman of the Local Government Area, Hon. Nkama, Nkama Ude had this to say "It is a great privilege to share with you ideas on how to advance these humanitarian services of protecting the rights of our children and this group must be protected as they are the people we will bequeath our future to."

Master Chima Amah (the lead youth organizer) had this to say in his address "We are gathered here to disseminate information on the Child's Rights Act signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003, which has been passed into law by the Ebonyi State House of Assembly; thereby joining the countries and States that are concerned for the welfare of the child, as specified by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Before April 2008, most children in Afikpo South Local Government Area did not know and never heard about the Child's Rights Act 2003 and that they have rights which must be protected. So, we are here today to celebrate this knowledge with the hope that it will propel Edda children to work harder in order to measure up and contribute in matters affecting them and their community.

"We are here to celebrate the planting of seed in the minds of Edda children that they have rights as well as responsibilities to the society, which if protected and adhered to, will surely make us (children) live more responsible and productive lives in order to become the better leaders of tomorrow expected of us."

The service project has come and gone leaving in its wake 3 landmark achievements in Afikpo South Local Government Area:
1. Getting the youth to come together as a team (for the first time) to plan and execute a service project that has to do with a matter that concern them now, and in the future. This has definitely opened a new horizon that they can come together to exchange ideas, plan and carry out a project on their own. Youth in Afikpo South now know that they are capable of making adults recognize their ability to contribute to self and community development.
2. The dissemination of information on the Child's Rights Act in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State Nigeria has not just popularized the Act but has caused the Local Government Legislative Council to pass the Child's Rights Act into law in the Local Government Area as required by law thereby making the LGA to become the first to pass the law at local level in Ebonyi State.
3. The Child's Rights Clubs members are now advocates and watchdogs of Child's Rights abuse in their schools and communities.

The following pictures were taken at the celebration!




Posted by at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2006

UN Study on Violence Against Children Released Today

Via Global Violence Prevention Advocacy Newsletter
(Contact Fran Henry)

On October 11 the United Nation's Secretary-General received and released to the public the UN Secretary- General's Study on Violence Against Children. The study reports on and makes recommendations concerning violence and abuse directed at children around the world.

The report calls for immediate attention to the pervasive harm that children are subjected to in their homes, in workplaces, in schools and institutions, and in the community. It specifically asks that countries address legal issues, such as the death penalty, and social issues, such as the belief that children can and should be subjected to corporal punishment.

Click here to read the study.

Posted by Daniel at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2006

Feminist Books for Teens

Ampersand at Alas, A Blog posts an email she got from a junior high/ high school teacher wondering what feminist books could be recommended to encourage discussions about sexism after an incident at the school. Ampersand posted and the readers commented. A good list:

via Alas, A Blog - What Feminist Book Would You Have 12-18 Year Olds Read

Posted by Russell at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2006

Children's Exposure to Violence

Here's some weekend reading... Linked below is an interesting study about children's exposure to television & media violence. The study is a bit old - 2001. There are also some links to information on psychological trauma and tendency toward violent behavior, too.

via American Academy of Pediatrics - Media Violence

Posted by Russell at 04:33 PM | Comments (1)

March 10, 2006

Boys Will Be Boys

The "Boys Will Be Boys" message that is continuously reinforced by our culture has a direct and extremely harmful effect on women, the article below point to the aspect of the message that often gets ignored. The message is: boys are "animalistic", less intelligent, and generally "badder" than women - thus also demeaning boys and giving them a low-bar to reach toward.

via Washington Post - What Does "Boys Will Be Boys" Really Mean?

Posted by Russell at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)

February 17, 2006

Violence Can Affect Teen's Physiology

A recent study shows that being exposed to violence - witness or direct experience - can affect a young person's physical health for years.

via Health Central - Violence Can Change Teens' Physiology

Posted by Russell at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2006

Boys And The Education Gender-Gap

Newsweek has a thorough article about boys under-achieving in education. They offer several potential reasons for this: the biololgical difference between boy's and girl's brains and that education systems focus on learning that favors girls; "misguided" feminism that put lots of attention in the 1990s to closing the education gender gap by focusing on girls, but leaving boys behind; and the effects of a generation of boys who are growing up without biological fathers present or male-mentors of any kind.

via Newsweek - The Trouble With Boys

Posted by Russell at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2005

Where Have All The Men Gone?

The trend since the late 1970's is that the number of young women attending college has surpassed that of young men. At that time, that was a good trend. Since then, that trend has become a widening gap. The article below examines this alarming trend and how this may have come to be - a good look at the negative effects of male socializtion and sexism on the current generation of young men.

via Washington Post - Disappearing Act

Posted by Russell at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2005

What Do Teens Think About Fatherhood

The link below connects to an interesting study looking at the way that teens currently view fatherhood and parenting. What is most interesting is that many of the traditional views of what it means to be a father have not changed in over the last few decades. What has changed are the perceptions (and realities) of the support systems that young people and new fathers have (like less connection to extended family).

via Father's Incorporated - Teens Attitudes Towards Fatherhood Revealed in New Report

Posted by Russell at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2005

America's Boy Problem

What are your thoughts on this article? It is a review of book in which the current "problem" with boys is summed as: they are either growing up to be obnoxious overbearing barbarians or weak, too-emotional wimps. Is there truth here or is this just an outcry to bring the parenting of boys back to the "good ole days"? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Read Opinion: Barbarians and Wimps: America's Boy Problem

Posted by Russell at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

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