TRENTON – Senator Ronald Rice introduced legislation that would create the Commission on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Minority Males to investigate issues strictly pertaining to African American and Hispanic males.
“The social and economic inequality in minority communities is one of the major issues of our time. It is even a larger task to figure out how to solve the problem. To do that, we will need to create a grassroots campaign by going into minority neighborhoods and talking directly to the residents about what they struggle with on a daily basis,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “We solve this issue when we go straight to the people and personally find out how we can help them. I believe this is the most effective way towards solving racial inequality in our communities.”
Under the bill, the Commission would examine issues and advance recommendations exclusively pertinent to African-American and Hispanic males in four primary areas: employment, criminal justice, education and health.
The bill would further create four subcommittees dedicated to focusing on the four primary areas:
- The subcommittee on employment would focus on access to employment opportunities, access to workforce preparation and training for future labor markets.
- The subcommittee on the criminal justice system would focus juvenile justice, criminal justice system analysis, relations between law enforcement and the community, victimization by law enforcement, sentencing, violent crime, domestic violence, homicide and deaths and injuries caused by firearms.
- The subcommittee on education would focus on drop-out rates, male attitudes toward schooling, academic achievement, vocational and technical training, higher education and educational alternatives.
- The subcommittee on health would focus on healthy lifestyles, physical and emotional consequences of violence, substance abuse, reproductive health, prevention of disease and illness, suicide prevention and mental health.
The bill also requires the Commission to conduct research to determine the nature and extent of the issues confronting African-American and Hispanic males. It will also seek to identify existing federal, state and local programs that currently address the issues confronting African-American and Hispanic males. The Commission would develop and implement new programs and demonstration projects designed to address these issues and produce and improve community education and public awareness programs that assist African-American and Hispanic males.