Blog

Updates and announcements


We Need Architects!

As we are moving swiftly into 2020, our Mentorship Team has identified a deficiency in our mentorship pool: Architects!

Our Mentorship Team conducts career exposure fairs and speed career networking events with local high schools and universities. There has been a demand for more Black people with architectural backgrounds to speak to students about their line of work. So we are looking for you!

These are ad-hoc at-will volunteer opportunities, many being only 1-2 hours long but occurring during the workday (when students are most readily available). We can provide work excusal letters, just ask! There is no commitment until you register for a specific event/session. Filling out the form below simply lets us know you exist so we can reach out to you when opportunities arise.

Yes, I want to Help!

Questions? Email us!


Black Childhood Literacy

Our Planning Team at the Walker Literacy Center in Detroit

During February and March, we are taking on a particular initiative around the statistically troubling history in our community of education disparities, especially childhood literacy. It comes at no surprise to us that our community sits at the lowest data points in American education metrics. As we push for improved conditions and funding in Detroit schools, and more resources for educators, there are some things we can still do on our own.

On a national level, according to the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 18 percent of African-American fourth-graders were proficient in reading. Their white peers, however, faired well-over twice that at 45 percent, exceeding both the national average and every other racial group except Asians.

Data Snapshot for National Reading Proficiency Levels from the 2019 NAEP

Specifically, in the state of Michigan, the NAEP data shows a relative stagnation of literacy for the African-American fourth-graders tested for the past five years. Additionally, on the NAEP reading scale of 0 to 500, “Black students had an average score that was 25 points lower than White students.” according to their Michigan Report, this is a performance gap that is not significantly different from that in 1998.

We need progress. Especially in Detroit.

In support of this campaign, we are building a library of Black children’s books to donate to local Detroit community organizations including the Walker Literacy Center and the Downtown Boxing Gym. Books depicting Black characters are essential to the positive self-esteem and identity of our children long-term. Our children deserve, just as much as any other child on this earth, to be depicted positively in the ink they learn from.

You can contribute to this cause by attending our ticketed events in February and March, or by making a direct earmarked donation that will go entirely toward purchasing books for this initiative.

Additionally, we are strongly encouraging our members, followers, and the public-at-large to volunteer for efforts to increase childhood literacy in our community. One of the easiest things you can do is read to children in your immediate and extended family, including children of friends, and also help them learn to read more challenging books above what they can read now.

Watch Our Social Media: Our planning team will be volunteering to help children read during February and March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to catch all the action.

You can read the full Michigan Snapshot Report here, and you can also find more data on the NAEP Report Card website.


Financial Insight

Going back to first days of slavery in the United States, enslaved African Americans and their descendants have trekked through the expansive and promising horizon of the American capitalistic economy. At the beginning it was under the brutal and life crushing weight of forced labor, no rights, and zero freedom. In that time, enslaved African Americans and their descendants would become worth more than even the houses their masters lived in, and collectively worth more than all the country’s manufacturing and railroads combined, becoming the single largest financial asset of the entire nation’s economy. With emancipation, in theory and eventually in practice, we moved a tiny bit closer to the frontier of true agency. We continued to do our best to provide for our families using our individual and collective ingenuity, sacrifice, and perseverance with while two boots stood firm on our neck. We continued to be blocked and scammed, 40 acres and mule would come and go unfulfilled, and nearly half of us would migrate out of the southern states, heading north for hopes of a better – less oppressive life.

With each passing decade we would win battles, make progress, but never arrive at the end of the economic war that sought to keep us marginalized. The establishment’s sickening tactics continued to evolve despite the passage of each constitutional amendment and every civil rights law. We went from prima facie slavery, to slavery by other names, to jim crow, and now we face mass incarceration among other never-ending vehicles for our social, emotional, and economic exclusion and overall defeat. Despite these hurdles, we are still here today as the strongest ethnic minority in the country. Better off today than most times in our past, and collectively bearing more tools to fight back and secure our future than ever before. However, that is not to say our fight has been won. That fight wages on daily for each Black man and woman, and begins very early… it begins in at birth. At birth, your life-long education and exposure opportunities have already been pushed further away by oppressors of the past, or will be extended towards you by the champions of your future.

As the leading regional young professionals association for Black men and women in Detroit, we have a duty to support this never-ending endeavor. Thus we have embarked on a journey of Financial Insight for Q4 of 2019, to prepare our members for a renewed outlook going into 2020. This includes integrated financial planning strategies extending from home into the workplace. In this journey there will be a few modules, including:

  • History of Black Economics
  • Personal Financial Management for the Black Young Professional
  • Black Best Practices of Car and Home Buying
  • Maximizing your Intrapreneurial Impact and Compensation
  • The Whys, Why Nots, and Hows of Black Entrepreneurship

These conversations will be heavily flavored by the economic realities of being Black in America today, which is especially required as descendants of American chattel slavery continue to face racist pseudoscience and propaganda to this day. Additionally we have the uniquely high occurrence of historical hand-me-down traumas and accrued disadvantage from our families, such as the “Black Tax” of having to financially support parents and siblings, as well as the mental cage of inner city ghettos. We will address the specific nuance of these realities with members during this series and how they are to best navigate those impediments. This is not to be your typical run-of-the-mill financial dysfunctionalism guilt trip disguised as motivational speech or tough love. This is not shaming of buying clothes or traveling for pleasure. This is a community, almost “family” centered approach, but using data and validated practices introduced through the heart.

To bring the most accurate and relevant information relative to members’ immediate needs, we are asking for your input. We have developed a quick and anonymous survey to gauge the financial position of our constituents in Metro Detroit. We need your help! Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. The information will be further anonymized and aggregated to give a financial snapshot which will be shared at our Personal Financial Management module. This information will be immensely helpful to the community for gauging where individuals are relative to their average peer, and to answer the age-old question of “am I the only one?” when it comes to dealing with tough financial situations.

Click the button below to take the survey!

 

Stay tuned to our social media and mailing list for announcements and registration for the workshop modules!