Nearly two years ago, a horrified crowd of men, women and children looked on as George Floyd was senselessly murdered. Two weeks ago, during a racially-motivated attack, dozens of grocery shoppers’ lives were forever changed when an armed gunman killed nearly one dozen people. That very same weekend, a sixteen-year-old boy, Seandell Holliday, was murdered by another teenager in front of a crowd of his peers at one of Chicago’s most famed landmarks. The lives of two Black boys gone in an instant–one dead, the other incarcerated. Seandell was a member of CHAMPS, a My Brother’s Keeper Alliance-affiliated mentoring program. Boundless dreams, experiences and moments, forever deferred.
The loss of Black life in each of these instances is an outcome of a singular yet complex problem. Each is the result of the lack of systems change necessary to result in positive outcomes for our young people. Our communities are hurting, our families are hurting and most of all, our children are hurting.
At the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, our mission is building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color. That mission doesn’t falter when we face tough times; it, instead, grows deeper. We believe that our boys and young men evolve into men who are next in line for greatness, if they are provided with the right opportunities and resources. We believe that boys and young men of color are beautiful, brilliant, capable and dynamic.
For that reason, it is of the utmost importance that you, our MBK Network of organizations, partners and supporters, continue pouring resources, opportunity, hope and love into our young boys.
I am proud to announce that the MBK Alliance is ramping up our efforts to support our MBK Network. The start of these efforts is our nationwide call to action, Freedom Summer 2022. Communities across the country often experience an uptick in youth violence during the summer months. Freedom Summer 2022 is our call for young people to positively take up space in their communities through innovative seasonal programming spearheaded by you–our MBK community. Major news about Freedom Summer 2022 is forthcoming, so stay tuned for those exciting details!
In the meantime, we challenge each member of our community to invite other organizations into our network. We challenge you to develop creative ways to engage our boys and young men of color and make their pathway to success as clear as can be. Our black boys need all hands on deck. To stay up to date with our forthcoming initiatives and for more ways to get involved, see the list below.
In hope and faith,
Dr. Adren Wilson
Executive Director, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance