Boys And Men Of Color Select Committee To Be Chaired By Bonta And Jones-Sawyer

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Speaker appoints Assemblymembers Bonta and Jones-Sawyer, Sr. to chair committee to improve the lives of boys and men of color

(Oakland, CA) Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is proud to announce that Speaker Toni Atkins appointed him Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color in California, alongside Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D- Los Angeles).

As the first and only Filipino American ever elected to serve in the California State Legislature and as a father raising a son of Black Puerto Rican, Asian, and European heritage, Bonta is personally invested in and committed to improving the life outcomes of young boys and men of color: “One of my first acts as an Assemblymember was to request to serve as a member on the Select Committee and I’ve been an active participant over the past two years under the skilled stewardship of former Assemblymember Steven Bradford. I’m honored to continue his work, as well as the strong leadership of my predecessor in the Assembly, former Assemblymember Sandré R. Swanson, who created the Select Committee over four years ago. 

“California must lead the way in understanding and improving opportunities for boys and young men of color. The success of our state and nation is inextricably tied to the success of this growing population,” Bonta explained.

More than 70 percent of California youth under the age of 25 identify as people of color. Boys and men of color, including African American, Latino, Asian, and Native Americans, often experience the triple barriers of low-income families, low-performing schools, and violent communities. The goal of the Select Committee is to find ways to minimize and remove barriers that prevent boys and men of color from achieving success, focusing on four key areas: education, health, employment and wealth, and juvenile justice and safety. Over the past four years, the Committee has supported a number of efforts to improve outcomes in these areas, including support for the successful implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula to more fairly distribute funds to our public schools; addressing the disparate impact of suspension and expulsion policies on students of color; and finding innovative ways to address the health effects of adverse childhood experiences.

Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr., also a committed member of the Select Committee over the past two years, commented on his vision for the upcoming year.  “The Committee has made incredible progress since its creation four years ago, making important recommendations to the Legislature on how California can minimize barriers that prevent boys and men of color from achieving success. The recommendations focused on creating policies to reduce disparities in education, expand employment opportunities, improve health outcomes, enhance community safety and develop our youth. The next two years, under my office’s joint leadership with Assemblymember Bonta, we plan to focus on implementing many of these recommendations,” Jones-Sawyer explained.

Bonta concluded, “California is in a unique position to be a game-changer in this longstanding crisis. The decisions we make now will help build the foundation and framework for how state and local policies respond to and support the needs of our youth for generations to come. I’m excited and thankful to be a part of this important change and am looking forward to working with Speaker Toni Atkins, Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr., and our colleagues to ensure our boys and men of color live lives animated by justice, opportunity, and equity and know that their lives and outcomes matter to me, to us, and to all of California.”