Removing Barriers and Creating Opportunities


Young men of color who grow up in poverty, live in unsafe neighborhoods, and attend low-resource schools face a difficult path to a healthy and productive adulthood. Research informs how proven messaging strategies can raise awareness of the needs of young men of color and grow support for action from diverse sectors.

“Use values-based words, such as family, responsibility, second chances, school, and opportunities to elicit empathy when crafting messages around emotionally complex or controversial issues.”

“Our research tells us that a different narrative about young men of color—one that underscores a common humanity—can significantly move and change hearts and minds.”


  • Talk about what all kids need—food, a safe place to live, and a loving family—to frame how barriers make it harder for young men of color to succeed in school and find work opportunities.
  • Show what it is like to be a young man of color who does not have a father or positive male role model in his life.
  • Tell solution stories that include contextual information—of the situation, teachers, judges, parents, and mentors—to paint a picture of how a solution works.