While St. Louis was preoccupied with Better Together’s recently released proposal for merging St. Louis city and county governments, HomeGrown STL convened its annual summit on February 7 at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, where it’s based. Its focus was succinctly stated in the title of the policy brief released and discussed at the summit: “Social Mobility: The Necessary Focus of St. Louis Investment in Black Males.”
The brief was researched and written by Sean Joe, associate dean for Faculty & Research and the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development at the Brown School, and Robert Motley, lab manager of the Brown School’s Race and Opportunity Lab. Their thesis is pretty simple: if St. Louis does not make major investments in improving the social mobility of young black males in the region, then it does not much matter what else does get the region’s investment and attention. We can, for example, merge St. Louis city and county governments – as Herculean and unlikely a feat as that may be – and yet we can still expect the St. Louis region to lag far behind its potential for prosperity and peace if we don’t improve the social mobility of our young black males.
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