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See 10 Years of My Brother’s Keeper

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February 27, 2024
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One decade ago, President Obama created the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, urging the nation to address persistent opportunity gaps often faced by boys and young men of color to ensure they reach their full potential. The program began in response to Trayvon Martin's tragic death, driven by President Obama’s strong commitment to create a solution for protecting and supporting boys and young men of color.

A program of the Obama Foundation since 2017, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance spearheads the next chapter of the national call to action, uniting various sectors to create safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color and provide clear pathways to opportunity. Focused on achieving impact across the six MBK Milestones, the Alliance has supported local leaders in our network of more than 100 MBK Communities, reaching thousands of young men of color from Chicago to Omaha.

Take a look back at some of the moments from our decade of impact, and follow along as we continue this important work.

Fostering Brighter Futures for Boys and Young Men of Color

 On the South Lawn, President Obama walks in the middle of a group of young men. All have a range of light to deep skin tones. They are wearing a mix of casual and professional attire.

President Obama walks with mentees on the South Lawn of the White House on October 14, 2014.

President Obama speaks from behind a podium at the White House. Behind him are a group of 20 young men. They are a range of light to deep skin tones and are dressed professionally.

President Obama delivers remarks at an event to highlight "My Brother's Keeper," an initiative to expand opportunity for boys and young men of color, in the East Room of the White House on February 27, 2014.

“...In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin verdict, with all the emotions and controversy that it sparked, I spoke about the need to bolster and reinforce our young men, and give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them.” —President Obama, 2014

President Obama lowers his head behind a podium in the White House Press Room. In the background, a sign reads, “The White House Washington.”
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President Obama points to a photo on a wall. Behind him a group of young men with a range of medium to deep skin tones look on.
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President Barack Obama gives remarks on the Trayvon Martin verdict in the James Brady Press Briefing Room.

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President Obama hosts a discussion with Ron Brown College Preparatory High School students.

A young boy with a light skin tone looks up as President Obama holds his face. President Obama is out of frame. The boy is wearing a blue suit and tie. People gather behind and watch on.

President Obama greets Clark Reynolds at a reception celebrating African American History Month in the East Room of the White House in 2016.

“My Brother’s Keeper is all about helping more of our young people stay on track; providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future; building on what works, when it works, in those critical life-changing moments.” —President Obama, 2014

President Obama holds a basketball as he speaks to a group of young men. All men are a range of light to deep skin tones and are dressed professionally.

President Obama speaks to mentees on a basketball court.

“We were having a financial aid workshop for our mentees in the Roosevelt Room, and President Obama stopped by to surprise the young men. One of them joked with the President that he should play them in basketball one day. The President shocked them by saying, “Let’s play now!” We then walked to the White House basketball court where President Obama spent well over an hour playing HORSE and sharing life lessons with these young men.” — Broderick Johnson, Former White House Cabinet Secretary & Chair, MBK Alliance Advisory Council

 A young boy smiles at President Obama as he stands behind a podium. The boy has a medium skin tone and is wearing a suit and gray tie. Two people stand behind him in the background.

President Obama smiles at a young boy.

Sparking Hope and Joy in the Next Generation

Our mission is to establish safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color, ensuring they feel valued and have clear pathways to success. Through the Freedom Summer grant program, we provided support to local organizations dedicated to reducing violence in Chicago and communities across the country. The initiative focused on creating and expanding spaces and programming where boys and young men of color can safely learn, play, and engage.

A Black boy with a deep skin tone smiles away from the camera. He is wearing a hoodie that reads, “SSJC” and “Midwest Color Guard Circuit 2018 Finalist.” In the background is a South Shore Drill team mural.

A young man poses in front of a South Shore Drill Team mural.

On the left, a young boy looks through binoculars as he rides a boat. He is wearing a yellow shirt and a brown and yellow hat. Waves and a skyline is in the background. On the right, a young boy holds a yellow rope. He is wearing a blue and red cap and jersey. Water is the background.

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Freedom Summer 2023 grant recipient, Chicago Maritime Arts Center, works with young people to offer training in water safety, small boat handling, and introduce them to careers in maritime.

A young boy with a medium skin tone watches President Obama from a crowd. He is wearing a white shirt and red and white striped tie. On his chest are stickers that read, “Cada Voto Cuenta” and “Gotta Vote.” People are gathered around behind him.

A young boy watches President Obama from the crowd.

President Obama sits around a table with White House Mentorship participants. All young men are wearing suits and have a range of light to deep skin tones.

On the first anniversary of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, President Barack Obama has lunch with participants in the White House Mentorship and Leadership Program in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on February 27, 2015.

Jerron Hawkins, a Black man with a deep skin tone smiles away from the camera. He is wearing a black suit with a MBK pin.

“The moment of sitting next to President Obama was a lesson that he taught me that was unspoken, but understood. If he would’ve said what I felt, and I believe we all felt, it would have gone something like this: “You matter. You as a black male matter. To all of you sitting around this table, you matter. Every male of color in this country matters.” - Jerron Hawkins, White House Mentee

Developing Clear Pathways to Success
Black boys with a range of light to deep skin tones sit around a table and watch the whiteboard. The students are wearing yellow polos and khaki pants.

Male students listen to instruction at the Black Family Development in Detroit, Michigan.

A boy with dark skin tone walks away from the camera.
Noah McQueen, a Black man with a deep skin tone, stares into the camera. He is wearing a navy suit with a MBK pin.
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A young boy with a light skin tone rests his hand on his face as he stares into the camera. He is wearing a plaid navy suit.
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“President Obama gave me that calming affirmation you look for in your family. The type of understanding you covet from a mentor, father, or uncle in your family. President Obama illustrated to me that my past tribulations would be my launching pad for the future. As the first person to graduate from college in my family, MBK gave me the resources, wisdom, and foresight to be a leader in my community. I am a better man today because of the love and mentorship of My Brother’s Keeper.” - Noah McQueen, Washington, D.C.

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“I know there has to be something I can do to help. I can ask if they're okay or if they're being treated unfairly. If I see a boy who is lonely, I could ask to be their friend to be there for them and help them avoid depression. Small things add up, after all.” - Dylan Dennis, Demarest, New Jersey

President Obama sits around a table with food and MBK mentees. All are dressed professionally and have a range of light to deep skin tones.

President Obama grabs lunch with MBK mentees.

A Black man with a deep skin tone ties the tie of a young Black man with a deep skin tone. They stand in front of auditorium seats.

A mentor ties the tie of a mentee.

“We need to give every child, no matter what they look like, where they live, the chance to reach their full potential.  Because if we do — if we help these wonderful young men become better husbands and fathers, and well-educated, hardworking, good citizens — then not only will they contribute to the growth and prosperity of this country, but they will pass on those lessons on to their children, on to their grandchildren, will start a different cycle. And this country will be richer and stronger for it for generations to come.” –President Obama, 2014

A boy with a deep skin tone and locs claps from the audience at MBK Rising!
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A painted mural features the profile of a young black boy with red, blue, and white patterns.
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My Brother’s Keeper Alliance hosted its first national convening, MBK Rising! in Oakland, California on February 20, 2019.

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A mural of a young Black boy at MBK Rising!

President Obama sits next to Stephen Curry at MBK Rising! 2019. Four other young men with a range of light to deep skin tones sit on stage and listen on.

“How I carry myself, how I speak, how I interact with folks can make a huge difference – whether it is five seconds, ten minutes, or an hour. We all have the opportunity to shape someone’s perspective and that one moment can be a huge difference for a lifetime.” – Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry’s at MBK Rising!, 2019

President Obama sits in a circle with students prior to the My Brother's Keeper initiative town hall hosted by ESPN at North Carolina A&T State University. All men are a range of light to deep skin tones and are dressed professionally.

President Barack Obama meets with students prior to a My Brother's Keeper initiative town hall hosted by ESPN at North Carolina A&T State University in 2016.

There are four images. The first image, A young girl with a light skin tone smiles at the camera. The second image, A side profile of a man with a medium skin tone. He has curly hair and smiles off camera. The third image, A man with a light skin tone smirks at the camera. He is wearing a black suit jacket and purple shirt. The fourth image, A Black man with a deep skin tone holds his face in his hand as he stares at the camera. He is wearing glasses and a red shirt.

“I don't let anyone judge who I am, especially if they don't know me. I'm proud to be half Filipino and half Liberian, and I know I'm special in my own ways. I'm a little sister, and I am my big brother Dylan's keeper.” -Dani Dennis, Demarest, New Jersey

“I am bettering my community for boys and young men of color by providing a sense of fun, unity, and love through the work I do. I want to create a safe space for them and help them understand that love is vital because it's the one force that can heal all pain and save lives.” -Emanuel Milton, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

“Being from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe located in North Dakota, I am bettering my community for boys and young men of color by giving tools and opportunities to younger generations who will become the leaders of tomorrow.” -Kendrick Eagle, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, North Dakota

“Washtenaw County, Michigan is my community, and I am bettering it for the boys and young men of color by providing the support they need, so that they can achieve their goals and recognize their potential. I've extended every opportunity I've gotten to them because I believe that they are worthy and capable of anything that comes their way.” -Daquann Harrison, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Arne Duncan stands next to Broderick Johnson and Michael Smith at the MBK Alliance virtual town hall.

MBK Alliance hosts a virtual Town Hall featuring Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education.

Promoting Equity and Responsibility
Seven young men with a range of light to deep skin tones stand behind President Obama at a podium. All are wearing a gray, navy, or black suit.

President Obama speaks to an audience about My Brother’s Keeper

Young men gather in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. All have a range of light to deep skin tones and are wearing suit jackets and khaki pants.
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President Barack Obama and Rep.John Lewis sit in a circle with Ron Brown College Preparatory High School students. All men are a range of light to deep skin tones.
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Ron Brown College Preparatory High School students visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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President Barack Obama and Rep. John Lewis host a discussion with Ron Brown College Preparatory High School students.

Christian Champagne, a Black man with a deep skin tone looks off camera. He has long black hair and is wearing a white shirt.

Christian Champagne, an alum of our National Impact Community partner, Youth Guidance and their Becoming a Man (BAM) program in Chicago, “My Brother’s Keeper means you look out for the next man or the people that are under you.” — Christian Champagne

A photo of George Floyd is raised during a protest. A group of people gather in the street with signs. Their backs are to the camera.

In June 2020, President Obama and the MBK Alliance challenged mayors and city leaders to amplify their communities’ calls for policing reform and accountability. Over 330 communities—representing 13+ million Black people and including all of the 10 most populous U.S. cities—took our pledge to reimagine policing and redefine public safety.

Two people hold hands and their fist in the air. Protesters gather on both sides around them.

The Reimagining Policing Pledge is a call for mayors and local officials to review and reform use of force policies, redefine public safety, and combat systemic racism within law enforcement. In March 2021, we released the Reimagine Policing: Progress to Date report documenting the pledge’s inspiration, sharing highlights of the participating cities’ progress, and offering next steps for building on the momentum of the pledge.

In a gymnasium, President Obama sits with youth and police officers for a town hall to discuss mental health and wellness. All have a range of light to deep skin tones. The officers are dressed in their uniforms.

Through our COVID-19 Town Hall Series, , in collaboration with Lyft and other collaborators, and our increased investments in our Seed and Impact Communities, the Alliance effectively supported our communities. This assistance facilitated their ongoing efforts to reduce barriers and enhance opportunities for boys and young men of color and their families during a period of unprecedented uncertainty.

Positively Shifting Outcomes
 President Obama smiles as he listens to a Black male with a deep skin tone rap from his phone. He is wearing glasses and a neon green cap. Three males and a woman with deep skin tones are in the background. Her finger is on her lip as she listens in.

President Obama made a surprise visit at , a Chicago nonprofit that exposes youth in underserved communities to music and mentorship. He spent time with mentors and mentees from the program to learn the impact of being a My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Freedom Summer 2022 grant recipient and he even listened to the students' freestyles and beats.

A group of Black boys sit in a circle. All have a range of light to deep skin tones. The student in focus has light brown hair and is wearing a blue jacket. His back is to the camera.

Students participate in a workshop at BUILD, Inc. Chicago.

A Black man with a light skin tone shakes hands with a Black man with a medium skin tone. Both are tuxedos.
A young man with a light medium skin tone steps out of a black truck. He is wearing a white shirt and black bow tie.
A young boy smiles as he sits in front of a bookshelf. He has a medium skin tone and short afro. He is wearing a yellow polo with a navy crewneck on top.

To kickoff MBK Rising!, a national convening hosted by the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, participants attend a Day of Service at MLK Elementary School in Oakland, CA on February 18, 2019.

A mural of Martin Luther King, Jr. from a playground. The mural features his face and colorful patterns in yellow, blue, red, orange, and black.
Four young, Black men play flag football. All are a range of medium to deep skin tones.They are wearing yellow flags.
A group of Black men practice drills with white plastic rifles. All men are a range of light to deep skin tones.

The Chicago South Shore Drill Team rehearses. The South Shore Drill Team and Performing Arts Ensemble was an MBK Alliance .

Eight Black young men with a range of medium and deep skin tones stand behind a table and hold up the focaccia bread they baked. Six of the eight are wearing blue aprons. All are standing in a kitchen.

As part of the at Martha’s Vineyard, eight students baked their own focaccia bread and visited Slough Farm. The six-week program immersed young men in life on the Vineyard and exposed them to what it takes to build a successful career in the hospitality industry.

A Black boy with a medium skin tone holds a head of lettuce. Four other men with a range of light to deep skin tones stand behind him. All faces are partially in the camera.
Three young Black men listen to a female instructor. They have a range of light to deep skin tones and stand in a garden.

MBK Participants learn the fundamentals of gardening as part of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Culinary Careers Accelerator Opens in a new tab at Martha’s Vineyard.

A young Black man with a medium skin tone smiles away from the camera. He has a short afro and is wearing a polo shirt that reads, “March Madness.” Two men are blurred in the background.
Four young Black men with a range of light to deep skin tones walk past a sign that reads, “Final Four.”
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A young Black man with a deep skin tone dunks a basketball. Three others stand in excitement in the background. All are a range of medium to deep skin tones. They stand on a basketball court.
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As part of a job shadowing experience with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, MBK Alliance participants attend the 2023 NCAA Division I Men's Final Four Tournament held in Houston, Texas.

Three Black men with a range of light to deep skin tones create posters at the Black Family Development in Detroit, Michigan. The back of their shirts read, “I am because we are.”

Young boys create posters at Black Family Development in Detroit, Michigan. The Black Family Development were selected as a National Impact Community as part of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Community Competition.

A young man with dark skin tone stares at the camera.

Newark, New Jersey was named one of four My Brother's Keeper Model Communities, an initiative that seeks to expand the implementation of evidence-based practices and impact for communities across the country. Newark, which experienced a 55 percent down tick in homicides in 2022 as compared to 2013, was recognized for their demonstrated impact in MBK’s sixth milestone: Remaining Safe from Violent Crime.

“We take data from the Newark Public Safety Collaborative and we analyze auto theft and violence that goes on in our community. With that data, we try to come up with solutions so we can help solve all the things that go on with crime in our community.” -Michael Williams, MBK Newark

President Obama stands in the middle of young leaders at MBK Rising! All men are dressed professionally and have a range of light to deep skin tones.

President Obama alongside young leaders from across the nation gathered at MBK Rising! in Oakland in February 2019.

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The Barack Obama Foundation is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (EIN 46-4950751).

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