Kirwan report to give city measurable goals for aiding young black men

By Rick Rouan
The Columbus Dispatch

When then-President Barack Obama challenged communities across the country in 2014 to create opportunities for young black men, Columbus jumped in.

But more than two years later, and with Obama’s presidency ended, city leaders are trying to determine where their My Brother’s Keeper initiative goes from here.

Columbus City Council in February approved paying the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity about $30,000 to gather demographic information about the city, pull together “community assets” that already exist and figure out where the city should focus its program.

“The things we are trying to solve for are life and death for a lot of people in our community,” Councilman Shannon G. Hardin said. “They don’t want to see talk. We’re trying to make sure this is not talk, and not short-term.”

The Kirwan report should be finished in June. It is the second study Columbus has done since Hardin and former Mayor Michael B. Coleman convened a My Brother’s Keeper task force in 2015.

The first report didn’t give the city measurable goals, though, Hardin said. The Kirwan report will do that.

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The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established in 2003 as a center for interdisciplinary research at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.