Adler University Assistant Professor Rabiatu Barrie, Ph.D., is a 2018 recipient of the Forward Promise Fellowship for Leaders award. Forward Promise, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is committed to empowering boys and young men of color.
Dr. Barrie teaches in the University’s Child and Adolescent Psychology emphasis in the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program.
The Fellowship brings together an intergenerational group of emerging and experienced leaders who work toward the healing of boys and young men of color and their communities. The fellows will participate in an 18-month leadership development learning experience that includes retreats, peer learning strategy sessions, and skill-building webinars.
“It is an opportunity for me to connect with like-minded scholars, educators, practitioners, and activists from across the nation,” Dr. Barrie said. “It signifies a launching pad in my career toward advancing scholarship in the area of African American boys. I am really excited to learn from others and share my own knowledge and experience in a meaningful way to make an impact on these underrepresented groups.”
Each fellow will be awarded $10,000 for their work to impact boys and young men of color. Dr. Barrie will use it to supplement her research and projects that need more funding.
Dr. Barrie said the goal of her research is “to explore positive identity models for the development of black masculinity in African American boys. This includes ways to cope with racism, pathways for developing black masculine identity, and empowerment for advocacy and civic engagement.”
One of her initiatives was a curriculum called PRIDE (Promoting Resilience and Identity Development through Empowerment) that she developed to help African American boys ages 12-18 think critically about themselves as emerging men. The curriculum has been implemented in schools throughout Chicago, serving over 300 young men. It includes restorative practices and conflict resolution as a means to promote healing. She has provided training to schools in Hyde Park and South Shore communities.
“The health of a community depends on leaders bold enough to ask tough questions, build coalitions, and take action on behalf of marginalized people,” said Howard C. Stevenson, Ph.D., Director of Forward Promise. “I’m delighted that we have identified 20 visionaries across generations who are changing the way health services are provided to boys and young men of color in this country.”
This work that the Forward Promise supports is important to Dr. Barrie, because “Black boys and men are in the margins of research and scholarly inquiry. Yet, they are disproportionately subjected to a significant amount of external structures and institutions that adversely affect their individual and collective functioning and mental health. We need more evidence to lobby policy makers with and more adaptive models for conceptualizing and working with black boys in education and social services.”