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December 2021 My Brother’s Keeper Looks Back on 2021

Activists In Chicago Protest Police Brutality In Death Of George Floyd

We hope you all have had a safe and fulfilling 2021. Through all of this year’s highs and lows, we continued our commitment to serve boys and young men of color, and with your help, we made progress in communities across the country. Below we reflect on a year unlike any other for MBK, and look forward to an exciting year ahead.

Where We Were in 2021

Although we weren’t able to convene in person, we felt the need to bring MBK Communities together virtually at the  MBK Leadership Forum to celebrate all of the progress made in their communities. President Obama joined in the conversation with young program participants and community leaders to reflect on the activism and action following George Floyd’s tragic murder. Coming out of this event, we were inspired and motivated by this group’s commitment to  Reimage Policing and public safety.

In 2020, when we launched our  Reimagine Policing Pledge, we knew the work would continue for years to come. Today, signatures in our pledge represent more than 300 communities — representing some 13 million Black Americans — committed to working internally to review and reform policies while redefining what community safety should look like. Throughout the year we hosted multiple  Reimagine Policing Workshops to further this commitment, bringing together local and national leaders to envision a brighter future with concrete solutions. Our workshops this year focused on the future of public safety, reimagining policing in the face of white supremacy, resources for reform, and alternatives to arrest. If you’ve missed any of these virtual events, they are free and available to stream on our website.  Learn more about the progress made so far.

As we continued to navigate through the second year of the global pandemic, our communities stepped up to support their people and communities, while continuing their work for broader systemic change. Read about efforts in Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, and Houston in our most recent blog post:  My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Grantees Rise To Serve Their Communities Throughout Covid-19

Michael Smith at MBK Rising

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance hosts its first national convening, MBK Rising! in Oakland, CA on February 20, 2019. Please credit "The Obama Foundation" when posting. The photographs may not be manipulated in any way, and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by the Foundation, President Obama, or Mrs. Obama without the Foundation's prior written consent.

Michael Smith - MBK Convening
This picture shows President Obama in a room full of men wearing business professional clothes, 
laughing and smiling together.

Farewell to Executive Director Michael Smith

Since the inception of My Brother’s Keeper under President Obama, Michael Smith’s passion, dedication, and love has propelled our mission forward. His work to support our boys and young men of color across the country in pursuing their dreams has inspired all of us at MBK, and the impact of his leadership will be felt in our work with communities long into the future. 

To learn more about Michael’s time with the program and all of the changes he’s seen over the years,  read his special farewell message to the MBK Community. For everything you’ve done for us as an organization and community, thank you, Michael.

MBK Framework

2022 Vision

Looking ahead to next year, we’re reaffirming our commitment to educating communities about the  MBK Equity Framework and helping them utilize this blueprint to create long-term, sustainable support for boys and young men of color. The Framework is our new national standard of excellence, offering principles, best practices, and tools for any community seeking to accelerate progress and change social conditions in order to improve the lives of boys and young men of color and the communities they live in. 

We created this tool in partnership with and with proven evidence from government, policy, development, equity, and organizational leadership from local and national organizations on the frontlines of youth and community development. We can’t wait to help cities move through the certification process to build upon our tremendous momentum. 

Before closing out this year, we want to thank each and every one of you. Whether you’re a leader, partner, donor, follower, or local champion, we see you. You are what makes My Brother’s Keeper what it is. It’s an honor to be inspired by the boys and young men as they grow and flourish under the guidance of this broader community.  

From all of us here at My Brother’s Keeper, we wish you and your loved ones a restful, happy, and healthy holiday season and an impactful start to 2022.

A young man with a deep skin tone wearing a gray hoodie and black jacket smiles toward the camera. There are other men and young men around him with deep skin tones. We see the sky slightly above their heads.

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