An update from MBKA: “Steph Curry, Newark Summit, and more”

On Wednesday, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance sent the message below to the full Foundation email list. If you’d like to receive updates like these in the future, you can sign up for our email list here.


Celebrating Four Years of My Brother's Keeper

Four years ago, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum in the East Room of the White House establishing the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. Since then, hundreds of communities, companies, and organizations have joined millions of citizens to expand opportunity and reduce systemic barriers that can keep our boys and young men of color from achieving their dreams. Today, this work continues as an initiative of the Obama Foundation. Watch this new video commemorating our fourth anniversary, featuring President Obama and MBK youth at our Newark Opportunity Summit.

Celebrating four years of My Brother's Keeper

The New York Times Upshot reported last week on a new study that analyzed economic outcomes and opportunities using data on 20 million families. The Equality of Opportunity Project found that “black children have much lower rates of upward mobility and higher rates of downward mobility than white children, leading to black-white income disparities that persist across generations.” President Obama responded to the study on Twitter, calling out the critical work ahead for My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and our partner groups and allies:

President Obama responds to the NYT UpShot report on a new study.

MBK Community Challenge is Here

In February, MBK Alliance announced its first national competition to accelerate impact in the more than 250 cities, towns, counties, and Tribal Nations that accepted the MBK Community Challenge. The competition, which will launch later this month, will provide several winning communities with a team of experts to support planning, implementation, infrastructure development, and spotlighting progress and lessons learned, particularly relating to reducing youth violence and growing the pipeline of mentors working in impactful programs. Competition winners will also be able to access matching funds to hire a full-time local project lead and receive planning grants of up to $500,000 to help jump-start initiatives, build capacity, and attract additional resources and partners. Sign up for updates on the competition.

The Undefeated: My Brother’s Keeper creates grant competition focused on youth violence and mentoring programs

Record-Breaking #Path2Success Opportunity Summit

On February 27, MBK Alliance in partnership with MBK Newark, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Prudential Financial, Inc., and the Prudential Center, held our final Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit in Newark, New Jersey. The daylong summit provided more than 1,300 boys and young men of color and other underserved youth with space to interview with employers for on-the-spot job offers, access community resources and social services, connect to mentors, discuss solutions to youth violence, and participate in career and leadership development trainings. MBK Alliance is incredibly grateful to all the local partner organizations, entrepreneurs, and young people who made the event a success. The summit is just the beginning for Newark’s renewed investment in creating employment pathways for its youth. Listen to President Obama reflect on the Summit and MBK’s anniversary.


Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit
Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit
Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit
Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit
Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit
Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit
Record-Breaking #Path2Success Opportunity Summit
On February 28, long-time MBK champion Steph Curry took to the court in a pair of customized MBKA Curry 4 sneakers. The hand-painted and autographed shoes will be auctioned off to benefit the MBK Alliance. MBK Alliance staff and Advisory Council members were thrilled to attend the game in D.C. with students from D.C.’s Ron Brown College Preparatory High School and the Obama White House Mentorship and Leadership Program, as official guests of Steph and Under Armour. Watch this special message from Steph on his inspiration for this awesome shoe and donation.


We Are The Ones Campaign
On Christmas Day 2017, MBK Alliance kicked off a new action campaign with the premiere of a PSA titled “We Are the Ones” during the NBA Countdown for the Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game on ABC. Created with support from ESPN, the PSA features President Obama, Steph Curry, and Chance the Rapper, and directs viewers to IamMBK.org.


We Are the Ones
Our New Home at Obama.org/mbka
MBK Alliance is proud to announce the launch of our page on the Obama Foundation website. Scroll through and be on the lookout for updates in the months ahead. MBK Communities are invited to register and update contact information. 
MBK Community Spotlight
Houston MBK, operated by the Houston Health Department, supports both families and communities in need, focusing on prevention as well as remediation. Their Clean Slate Cooperative (CSC) initiative is a collaboration with public and private organizations in the city of Houston to provide pro bono legal services to juveniles in need of a second chance, and increase access to employment and affordable housing. Sign up to learn more about the outstanding work MBK Houston is doing to serve youth and communities in the greater Houston area. 
Houston Chronicle: Teens don’t belong behind bars “Instead of detaining them, non-violent youth should be assigned mentors who offer coaching, encouragement and support to help them avoid lapsing back into problematic behavior patterns. [Judge Michael Schneider] called for an expansion of programs such as the one he helps lead, My Brother’s Keeper. These volunteers, many of whom hail from the same communities as the youth they serve, seek to form close trusting relationships with the offenders and to help them turn their lives around.”

Houston MBK

Houston MBK


MBK Communities in Action

On February 12, Walt Disney and Marvel Studios worked with MBK Alliance to provide tickets for local organizations, including Becoming a Man/Youth Guidance, Year Up, Urban Prep, Urban Alliance, The Fellowship Initiative, Chicago CRED, and Champs Mentoring to a special advanced screening of Black Panther. As the first superhero of African descent in mainstream comics, Black Panther has the potential to help shape how young people — particularly boys and young men of color — see themselves in film and pop culture, translating to their own lives.
Las Vegas My Brother’s Keeper Eliminating School Pathways to the Juvenile Justice System Conference
On February 1, the Las Vegas My Brother’s Keeper Alliance held a daylong conference: Eliminating School Pathways to the Juvenile Justice System. Educators, community members, elected officials, law enforcement, clinicians, and other stakeholders were among the more than 300 participants. The conference featured keynote presentations including “Keeping Kids in School and Out of Courts” and a discussion with Dr. Bryant Marks on implicit bias. There was also a panel on local restorative justice efforts and national legislative advancements instructive for Las Vegas in Nevada’s next legislative session.
Houston MBK

Houston MBK


The City of Orlando recently expanded its Parramore Kidz Zone (PKZ) program to a second neighborhood to serve more children. My Brother’s Keeper Orlando is embedded in the city’s existing youth-serving programs, including PKZ. In 2017, PKZ served more than 800 boys and young men of color from birth to age 25. They attended preschool and after-school programs, toured colleges, went behind-the-scenes at the Kennedy Space Center, and attended camping trips, theatrical performances, and other enrichment experiences. More than 100 young men were employed through PKZ’s Youth Employment program, and about 200 participated in sports programs.
“Supportive mentoring relationships help to secure a solid future for Yonkers’ next generation,” said Yonkers MBK Co-Chair, Dr. Edwin M. Quezada, Superintendent of Schools. More than 80 local men have applied to participate in Each One Reach One, which is designed to equip students with a sense of personal support and skills that bolster their academic, emotional, and social well-being. Through Each One Reach One, Yonkers MBK is creating connections between youth and adults that are transforming the lives of both.
In February, Michael Smith joined the New York State MBK in Albany, New York at the 47th Annual Legislative Conference Weekend. Hosted by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, the event included a workshop on the MBK initiative and how it is being applied in New York State. New York became the first state to accept the president’s challenge and enact the My Brother’s Keeper initiative into law in its 2016-2017 state budget.
47th Annual Legislative Conference Weekend
Youth Voice

At the age of nineteen, Khali Raymond is the author of over 50 books and a fellow for MBK Newark. Read about his experience growing up in Newark, New Jersey, and his vision for his hometown.


On March 8, Michael Smith participated in POLITICO’s Future of Prosperity event to highlight the barriers boys and young men of color, and other vulnerable youth, face on their path to prosperity and how these issues impact the US economy. Watch the talk here and learn more about MBK Alliance’s approach to closing this gap in communities across the country.
Michael Smith at POLITICO Live Event
In The News
MBK Alliance Advisory Council. This week, we announced our new Advisory Council with the appointment of new members Angelique Albert, Executive Director, American Indian Graduate Center; Tom Geddes, CEO, Plank Industries; Karol Mason, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and young adult members Malachi Hernandez, MBK-Boston and Senegal Mabry, MBK-NY State. These new members join the majority of the former MBK Alliance’s Board of Directors who transitioned to the Advisory Council.
MIchael Smith Interviews with DeRay McKesson for Crooked Conversation Podcast. Michael Smith and DeRay McKesson sat down for a conversation on Crooked Media’s Crooked Conversations podcast. The discussion centered around the persistent opportunity gaps facing young men and boys of color and how MBK Alliance seeks to address these issues.
Columbus Alive: Can My Brother’s Keeper find its footing in Columbus? “The community feedback informed the MBK ‘Youth Perspective Report’ released in October 2015, which highlighted several areas of focus: safety, mental health and wellness, mentorships, education, and workforce development. Next step recommendations were partly inspired by MBK Alliance Advisory Council Chair Broderick Johnson’s visit to Columbus. [Johnson] said, ‘If you really want to have the impact that I think that you guys are going for, you’ve got to get data,’ Hardin said. ‘And that was our real hard stop. … So we reached out to Kirwan to give us a level [data] set.'”
Lohud: Teen violence poses a great challenge, and not only for New Rochelle “If the New Rochelle schools are going to try to identify and assist students who, for a variety of reasons, present behavioral challenges, the entire community will have to get behind the efforts. There are no easy solutions. Progress would require patience, a willingness to try different approaches, and acceptance that some approaches will fail and some students will not be helped, at least at first. Fortunately, New Rochelle’s My Brother’s Keeper program may be well-positioned to build support from the city’s business and nonprofit communities.”
ABC 6 Ohio: Data for ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative released; focus to help close color gap “The data collected was inspired by My Brother’s Keeper. The initiative was launched in 2014 by President Barack Obama to challenge cities, non-profits and the private sector to close opportunity gaps between men of color and the larger community. The Kirwan Institute’s report focused on issues impacting young people such as safety, education, economics and health.”
The Lantern: Kirwan Institute renews pledge to help vulnerable Columbus youth “The divide is being recognized by the Kirwan Institute and City of Columbus initiatives, such as My Brother’s Keeper, an Obama-era national initiative that encouraged communities and cities to provide structure and support for vulnerable youth, particularly boys of color between the ages of 9 and 15. The Kirwan Institute originally got involved with My Brother’s Keeper in 2015 after the city of Columbus asked it to join the national effort in supporting and uplifting young men of color.”
Get Involved and Take Action
Data shows that boys and young men of color, regardless of socio-economic background, are disproportionately at risk throughout the journey from their youngest years to college and career. Join the movement to break down opportunity barriers for our youth. Become a mentor today
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