Blogs

An Ode to the Long Walker, Congressman John Lewis

Kelli Dulan, Director of Leadership and Learning A hero now rests. Congressman John Lewis was laid to rest on Thursday, July 30, in the Southern soil where he so valiantly fought and won many battles for social justice. To borrow a phrase from our brothers at National Compadres Network, Congressman Lewis was the ultimate “long […]

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One Eye Open: The Health Crisis of Racial Vigilance for Boys and Young Men of Color

Protests around the world are calling for change but will this change impact the well-being of our children, friends, and communities? Don’t hold your breath.

In 2013, my 8 year old son and I were folding clothes while the TV was on. He became glued to the TV as Trayvon Martin’s parents were crying after the acquittal of George Zimmerman. He was shocked and angry and asked me questions I was unprepared to answer. Most Black and Brown parents who give their children the “Race Talk” to protect them (as I did for my oldest son when he was 8), usually initiate it. Our conversation became the theme of my TED Talk where I proposed ways to manage the negative health effects of racial stress.

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Justice for Ahmaud Arbery: Dehumanization Is Not Normal

Jogging on a sunny spring day is normal. Chasing, shooting, and murdering a Black man while he is jogging is NOT normal. Playing music outside and enjoying yourself is normal. Being shot and killed because someone else does not like your music is NOT normal.

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COVID-19

Over the past month, I have used the word “unprecedented” more times than I can count. That is because I did not know how to fully explain what was happening to our world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even still, unprecedented did not feel like a strong enough word. I found myself angry, scared, anxious, […]

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Centering Youth Voices in Times of Crisis

As we lift up National Youth Violence Prevention Week in the midst of a global pandemic, we acknowledge the role of youth voices and youth leadership in identifying root causes and solutions. Youth are assets to our community that we must nurture and empower. They are often closest to the problems that organizations are seeking to solve. In this compounded crisis, the lived experience of boys and young men of color (BYMOC) is vital to helping organizations navigate and rapidly respond with fresh ideas to the new challenges and needs BYMOC are facing.

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Health, Healing, and Heroes

In my work on racial literacy, I have been interested in people’s comfortability in speaking up about injustice, particularly racism. My research has asked, “how do we prepare children to manage the stress of racism so they don’t fall prey to its negative effects on their bodies, hearts, minds, and souls? Black History Month is typically a time of reflection and celebration of the many achievements and contributions to the United States made by Black people. In light of the complicated history of people of color in America—and, as Black History Month comes to a close—I propose three things to remember about the ways in which hate and racism poison people of color, and how we can manage historical and contemporary triggers of racial trauma through racial literacy every month of the year.

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Let’s Heed the Charge from Our Elders

I was invited to Jackson, Mississippi by the Juanita Sims Doty Foundation to conduct a training on the cycle of dehumanization and racialized trauma, and its impacts on health and well-being for children of color.

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A Mother’s Love Liberates

I’ve been a mother for 14 years. I have a teenage son and a young daughter. Being a mother is a great honor that brings an indescribable joy. I marvel daily at the ways my children are growing and developing. I am also humbled at how parenting has made me a better human being. At night, I often gaze at my two precious children sleeping and am filled with gratitude and warmth.

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Songs of My People: The Healing Power of Indigenous Education

Meet Maȟpíya Black Elk, Director of Hiyupo Alliance Boys and Young Men of Color Programs at the Native American Community Academy (NACA). In this video, he shares his emotional journey of healing from the internalized negative feelings created by the historical dehumanization of Indigenous peoples when they were colonized. Maȟpíya’s experience with his loss of […]

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Three Steps Schools Can Take to Support Boys & Young Men of Color to Thrive

In a society where boys of color are stigmatized in every aspect of their lives by officials holding public office, in law enforcement and others, you’d think that the institutions charged with protecting and supporting their intellectual growth would be better at withstanding the forces of stigmatization. But our schools are no exception, as evidenced by alarming statistics showing disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates for Black and Brown boys and assigning them to remedial classes and special education classification. These practices feed the false narrative that boys of color are inherently more dangerous or incapable of performing well academically.

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A Statement On The Immigration Crisis

To Our Forward Promise Family, All of us have been deeply impacted by the immigration crisis at the border in which both the separation of children from and reuniting with their families has traumatized them, severely compromising their current and future well-being. Central to our mission at Forward Promise is broadening the field’s knowledge about […]

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Gathering the Village: Forward Promise’s Inaugural Grantee Convening

In April, Forward Promise, the national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)  focused on improving the health and success outcomes of boys and young men of color (BYMOC), convened its nine (9) grantee organizations, leadership from Forward Promise and RWJF, and industry leaders from the Forward Promise National Advisory Committee (NAC) at […]

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The Voices of Young Men Inspire Us to Push Harder

As the year comes to a close, the Forward Promise team took some time to reflect on how far we have come as a National Program Office and to fine tune our vision for where we want to go in the new year. As we took stock of the things that were accomplished during our first year as a national program office, there was much to celebrate and for which to be thankful.

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Villages as Healing Roots for Agonizing Seeds: For the Health of Boys and Young Men of Color

“In the dark, we hide the heart that bleeds
And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.”
If “it takes a village to raise a child,” what does it take to raise a healthy village for boys and young men of color? Affordable health care? Financial stability? Jobs? Good schooling? Justice? Not really. For centuries, boys and young men of color have weathered so much dehumanization regarding their presence, their innocence and their potential, that the respect for their humanity has all but eroded. These are important goals, but they are susceptible to the elements of fleeting goodwill and political turmoil.

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