by Trymaine Lee [Photos: Balazs Gardi for MSNBC]
OAKLAND, California—The bleak statistics for black boys here are like lyrics to a sad song that everyone’s tired of hearing but no one knows how to mute.
Too many live in poverty. Almost a third will drop out or be pushed out of school. And in recent years, black boys have been about as likely to be shot to death as they are to graduate from high school college-ready.
But there’s hope for boys in this beleaguered second-city by the bay: Many are beginning to stand up and fight for their futures. And they have a whole team of black men standing up and fighting with them.
Four years ago, the Oakland Unified School District launched the office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) – the first and only school district in the country with an office explicitly dedicated to lifting the prospects of black boys.