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Gary, Indiana's Mayor On Young Men of Color

We’ll talk with the mayor of Gary, Indiana – Karen Freeman-Wilson – about schools, jobs, prisons, unemployment, and the President’s “My Brother’s Keeper” push to help young men of color.

Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, a distinguished senior fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at The University of Chicago, meets with Gary, Ind. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson on campus, to announce the launch of an innovative collaboration between the University, Chicago Harris, and the City of Gary during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 in Chicago. (AP)

Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, a distinguished senior fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at The University of Chicago, meets with Gary, Ind. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson on campus, to announce the launch of an innovative collaboration between the University, Chicago Harris, and the City of Gary during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 in Chicago. (AP)

President Obama got personal and, unusually, he got racial last week to call for more attention to the circumstances of many young men of color in America.  The statistics, he said – of poverty and more – “should break our hearts.”  And he announced a new push to help called “My Brother’s Keeper.”  We’re going today to Gary, Indiana and its outspoken mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson – who is trying to lift one of the most troubled cities in America and its young men.  Some days, she says, that job brings her to her knees. This hour On Point:  My Brother’s Keeper, and the view from Gary.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Andrew Wolk, C.E.O. of Root Cause, a Boston-based nonprofit research and consulting firm. (@AndrewWolk)

Karen Freeman-Wilson, mayor of Gary, Ind. Former CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Former Indiana Attorney General. (@karenaboutgary)

From Tom’s Reading List

Chicago: Can Karen Freeman-Wilson Fix Gary, Indiana? — “The median household income in Garyis $28,000—$20,000 less than the state median—and unemployment is nearly 16 percent. The city is bleeding money (its debt: $43 million and counting), bleeding population (178,000 residents in 1960; 103,000 in 2000; 80,000 in 2010), and just plain bleeding. According to FBI statistics, Gary was the murder capital of the nation for several years running in the 1990s and 2000s. ”

NBC News: Gary, Ind. mayor tries to revitalize town — “So how do you fix a broken city? According to Freeman-Wilson, you start by reminding the people who live there why it deserves to be fixed. No small task when you consider just how long Gary has been languishing along the nation’s rust belt. Two things locals will tell you about Gary – it’s the birth place of Michael Jackson and it’s a city you should probably avoid at night. The signs of neglect are everywhere. Driving into the formerly bustling downtown, you’ll see rows of abandoned buildings separated by overgrown lots.”

The Hill: Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative has promise — “Young men of color, especially black and Latino males, suffer from a host of injustices, including disproportionate poverty rates, school suspension and expulsion rates, poor health outcomes, and particularly incarceration rates.”

WBOI-FM: The Difference: Fort Wayne — “In Fort Wayne, there’s a large disparity in achievement between black males and their peers: we’re taking a look at the numbers and the stories behind them.”

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