Young people in New Mexico face many challenges. But that’s particularly true for young men of color.
Across the country there has been an increased focus on these young people because they’re more likely to grow up in poverty, live in unsafe neighborhoods, and attend schools that lack resources. They’re also more likely to be punished in school, drop out and get caught up in the justice system. This can impact them – and our communities – for the rest of their lives.
Many young men lack positive male role models, especially if fathers are absent or not engaged. But these mentors can help them learn how to be good men and to be involved in their communities.
So how do we help these young men find these role models and become the next generation of leaders?
In this episode we feature a group of young men of color who normally don’t have prime time television exposure. It’s a very personal and candid conversation with young men striving to overcome the obstacles they face. Joining them are the organizations dedicated to helping, as well as men who are in the process of becoming role models.
Funding for the production of this Public Square program is provided by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation working to improve the lives of vulnerable children. This program is the result of a partnership with Mission: Graduate and funded locally by the United Way of Central New Mexico. And, this program is part of American Graduate, let’s make it happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Quotes From PUBLIC SQUARE Participants:
“I think there needs to be a dramatic change and a re-think, a paradigm shift, in how we think of our men of color.”
– Rodney Bowe, Men of Color Initiative, University of New Mexico
“It doesn’t matter what your challenges are. It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter what obstacles life puts in front of you. If you want something you have to get it, you have to work, more than anybody expects you to work.”
– Josė M. Castro Lopez, Barrio Youth Corps at La Plazita Institute
“What everyone shared here is what men really need – a space for them to tell their story, to validate their experiences.”
– Baonam Giang, New Mexico Asian Family Center
“I just wanted to make my next 30 years count. When I was incarcerated I was 30 years old.”
– Joseph Shaw, Fathers Building Futures
“Everybody in this circle has value, has knowledge, has skills, has passion, has the ability to create change.”
– Christopher Ramirez, Together For Brothers
Learn more on the Resources page.
Barrio Youth Corps Crew Member
Edsel Dean III
Barrio Youth Corps, Crew Leader
Jose M. Castro Lopez
Barrio Youth Corps Member
Fathers Building Futures, PB & J Family Services
Leonardo Llorente S.
La Plazita Institute
Wood Shop Supervisor, Fathers Building Futures
Director, Men of Color Initiative, UNM
PhD. Student, University of New Mexico
Youth Program Development, Nizhoni Consulting
New Mexico Asian Family Center
Male Involvement Coordinator, Rape Crisis Center