Washington D.C. – On Friday Feb. 22 at the Urban Institute and simultaneously webcasted between 10 a.m. and 12:30pm on a panel discussion and program called Black Families Five Decades After the Moynihan Report, reality presented itself front and center. The original report was made public in 1965 and made vivid the socio-economic reality of African-America. Revisiting the Moynihan report, which was the brain-child of Kenneth Braswell the executive director of Fathers Inc., exposed the true state of African-American experience at the cellular level – where and how black families really live. The event had the feel of a press conference dipped in academia, seasoned with the marinade of genuine concern.
We hear the statement or cliché that things are getting better in the United States where race is concerned. Is it true? If it is or is not true – why is it? The first four speakers made so many jarring points that each should be dealt with separately. These speakers were Shawn Dove Campaign Manager for Black Male Achievement at the Open Society Foundations, Gregory Acs, Director of the Income and Benefit Policy Center in the Urban Institute, the aforementioned Kenneth Braswell and the key note speaker, Michelle Alexander, Esq, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color-Blindness. This initial article will focus on the statements made by Mr. Shawn Dove as he was the first speaker.
Shawn Dove began by stating with regard to the gathering, “Nothing happens without leadership and collaboration.” He added, “Nothing changes in Washington unless someone gets obsessed about it.”
Mr. Dove strongly believes that the original Moynihan Report was and is a “call to action to complete unfinished business…allowing Black families to really experience the American dream…it makes for a stronger America”. Mr. Dove also made it clear that facilitate authentic change that the issues that divide races ought to be dealt with honestly and respectfully saying “Let us not avoid having the critical conversations about race.”
Mr. Dove cogently noted that for success to occur in Black America there are three foundational areas of investment that made take place for effective change to happen:
- educational equality
- shoring up family structures
- by creating viable work opportunities for Black men.
He also advised those present live and viewing via webcast, who were wonder how a responsible fatherhood movement was going to have any viability to not look for help but do the work necessary. He plainly said, “The cavalry is not coming and no presidential limo will stop in your neighborhood to save the day”
What do you think? How can the families and the fatherhood movement move forward given the current state of families?