SOCIAL ISSUES

Young men of color in Newark face challenges but have hope for the future

Newark’s young men of color face major challenges in education, health and safety — but they remain optimistic for the future.

That’s according to Advocates for Children of New Jersey’s annual Newark Kids Count report, which this year includes a special section on the young men of color in the city.

ACNJ, in collaboration with My Brother’s Keeper, invited young men to listening sessions and asked them to reflect on their experience growing up in the city and to share ways to improve outcomes.

According to the report, roughly a third of black and Hispanic youth live below the poverty line in Newark, and about a third of 19- to 25-year-old males don’t have health insurance.

And while graduation rates are on the rise in the city, young men lag behind their female peers when it comes to completing high school.

Most shockingly, between 2012 and 2016, homicide was the leading cause of injury-related deaths among young men of color in Newark, accounting for 75 percent — compared to 27 percent for young men in the same age group across the state.

The report does praise city government for initiatives to support young men of color and help lessen the trauma of violence.