Black youth

Chico Cromartie


Dear Editor:

As many of you know, there has been a push in many areas of the African-American community to mentor or to get involved with inner-city youth initiatives.

These initiatives all have the aim of empowering and encouraging black youth, at least in terms of their mission statement provided by most of these programs. Many African Americans have volunteered their time and personal resources for the betterment of youth in south St. Petersburg and other inner cities across the country.

For whatever reason one is motivated to reach out to the black youth with the sole purpose of encouraging and nurturing the potential in these young men and women, I thank you all. The sacrifice and commitment by these volunteers and civil service persons can be seen in the smiles of our black youth. From the “flip lady” to the school teacher, your acts of kindness and words of wisdom continue to shape the minds of these children.

Many residents would have to agree that the allocation of public funds for the purpose of improving the desire for education and personal achievement in black youth is well worth the sacrifice. In many cases, however, the funds are given freely with no stipulations as to the oversight of the funding.

In spite of all the attention and apparent concern many organizations give to inner-city youth, the literacy rate among black children is lower compared to other ethnic groups. The dropout rate for black youth also remains higher than whites, but lower when compared to Hispanics, according to other studies.

The tax money allotted these social organizations that claim to improve the lives and well being of black youth are enormous. Locally, there has been millions of tax dollars allocated to organizations like First Tee of Pinellas who state that their mission is to improve the lives of African- American youth through golf.

The fact is, often the tax money is given freely, meaning that there is no requirement for the organization to substantiate the achievements of black youth affiliated with the organization. In other words, how many black honor students are involved in these programs? How many black high school and college graduates are affiliated with the programs? Are these programs working for black youth?

These and some questions that come to taxpayers’ minds when organizations cite the case for receiving millions of tax dollars is to continue to improve the education and social well-being of African-American youth.

According to local reports, the black male graduation rate in Pinellas County is among the lowest in Florida, so why are these programs receiving millions of our tax dollars?

Chico Cromartie

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