BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Pugh is planning on creating a new office to help keep black boys and men from straying down the wrong path.
According to our media partners at The Baltimore Sun, the Office of African American Male Engagement will begin operations on Feb. 12. It is modeled after a similar office in Philadelphia named the Office of Black Male Engagement. Andrey Bundley, a former city high school principal and mayoral candidate, will be in charge of the endeavor.
“The reason the office is important is because too many black men are either the perpetrators of crime or victims of it,” Bundley told The Baltimore Sun. “It is about saving lives.”
In the past five years 1,220 black men have been killed in Baltimore.
The details of the office haven’t yet been revealed but the mayor is speaking about it publicly, mentioning it at a meeting with community leaders this week.
Jack Drummond, director of Philadelphia’s office, told The Baltimore Sun that his office has trained police officers and school teachers about how to avoid letting their biases affect the way they perform their jobs.
Bundley said his office will employ “three millennials” and an employee “who knows the streets.” An effort will be made to build on an existing network of mentoring programs and male role models such as sports coaches, church workers, and reentry counselors for men coming out of prison.
The My Brother’s Keeper program, started by President Barack Obama when he was in office, will also operate out of the office.
Bundley said there are 186,000 black boys and men in Baltimore and is calling for those who can serve as role models to participate.
“The goal,” he said, “is to ensure that any male in need of support gets it.”