Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in America, yet it's losing more of its black population each year.
“Those folks have moved to outlying areas. They're in Manor, Elgin, Pflugerville and Round Rock,” said Patrick Patterson, president of 100 Black Men of Austin.
That's why Patterson says it's time his organization steps in and acts as mentors to young black men in Austin. “Education is the key. Education leads to a higher income, income allows you to live wherever you want to,” said Patterson.
The Austin group is just one chapter in the many across Texas and the United States.
The 100 Black Men of America was founded in 1963 as a way to work on improving the lives of African-Americans. Wednesday, all the Texas chapters gathered at the capitol to promote their agenda. “The 100 black men are a very focused group that have an agenda so critical to our community. Our young men are lost,” said Rep. Joe Deshotel (D), Beaumont.
“We know there are many challenges and many disparities we face when it comes to our criminal justice system, when it comes to healthcare,” said Rep. Ron Reynolds, (D) Missouri City.
The Texas chapters also hope to address something that's been in headlines in recent years, police-community relations. “We work with A.P.D. in their implicit bias training and we're in the planning process of working with the Travis County Sheriff's Office,” said Patterson.
Some of the Texas members actually serve in the legislature and hope to push their agendas by making laws.
For example, Sentaor Borris Miles is hoping to move a bill forward that would award school credit to those incarcerated who prove they deserve it. Similar legislation is what the group plans to continue to push for. “That's what the 100 black men is about, changing the images oftentimes others see our young children as being,” said Rep. Jarvis Johnson, (D) Houston.