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Navigating BOTH (The Bottom of the Hill): Reflections and Forethoughts of Black Men in Public Policy

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With innumerable social and cultural inequities saturating our daily experiences, subsequent reflections and expectations of an all-inclusive reality regarding race, gender, ethnicity, and class relations continue to lean heavily on scientific inquiry and public policy to understand and solve all societal immoralities. While presenting disparate numbers in policy leadership roles at all levels of government, Black men have the least access to social capital resources to support job obtainment and career advancement. Furthermore, professional environments are significant settings where Black men in government encounter negative racial-gendered images. These negative encounters experienced early in their careers have the potential to determine the course and trajectory of their career outcomes by significantly shaping social networks and future occupational outcomes. Despite media and research literature continuing to produce the traditional narrative that speaks to the negative character, toxic masculinity, alcohol and drug abuse, lazy and hyper-sexual behavior of Black men, there is a growing narrative in research and efforts by Black men in public policy that aims to employ a strengths and assets-based approach to tackle the age-old questions, what can be done to address this problem and what can I do to help?

Panelists include:

  • Mark Conway '13, Councilmember, 4th District Baltimore City
  • Jazz Lewis '14, Maryland State Delegate, 24th Legislative District in Prince George’s County
  • Paul N.D. Thornell, Principal, Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas
  • Ricco Hall (moderator), Lecturer, School of Public Policy

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