African-American Leaders Reduce Inner-City Violence

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On June 17, 2010, four college-educated African-American male leaders — Xavier Ramey, Antonio Gross, Willie Chatman and Kemarius Lee — will return to North Lawndale, the neighborhood where they grew up. In doing so, they will begin their service at the Young Men’s Educational Network’s (YMEN) College & Career Campus. Their job is to keep younger North Lawndale males in school, help them get to college, and push them into positive career paths.

A press conference is scheduled on June 17, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at 2228 S. Avers, Chicago, IL to introduce to the media and the community these four individuals and to bring attention to the grave challenges faced by inner city youth.

Mike Trout, the Founder of YMEN, stated, “Gang violence in North Lawndale is cut drastically when older college-educated African-American males, who grew up in and are respected by the neighborhood, return and commit their expertise and networks to visibly working with younger African-American men and youth.”

“Three things keep teenage African Americans from getting caught up in gangs and a life of crime,” according to Trout:

 1. College-educated men from the community who serve as mentors to their younger counterparts.

 2. Male role models who provide programs with opportunities for school and jobs.

 3. Mentors who live side-by-side in the community and are interactive with their younger counterparts on a daily basis.

Trout adds, “3% of African-American males who come through CPS graduate college by age 25. With YMEN, 34% graduate. This begins with our assurance to each young man that we will commit 10 years of mentoring and support to him.”

“The fact that four YMEN alumni have chosen to return, live and serve in YMEN’s College and Career Campus will give hope that good can come from the hood in a way no one ever imagined,” Trout stated. “Education and career opportunities are essential if we are going to stop the illegal economy and associated violence in North Lawndale.” Please contact Mike Trout at (773) 852 – 9830 or by email at

Source: YMEN

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