In November, we held the second meeting of the Manhattan My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which is aimed at closing the opportunity gap by supporting boys and young men of color in Manhattan. President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK)  initiative in 2014 to improve outcomes for students of color in schools across the country. New York was the first state to enact the initiative into law and has invested more than $20 million into establishing a network statewide. Learn more about MBK here .
It was a moving and productive day with a heartfelt keynote by Shadrack Boakye, who spoke about the adversity he experienced in Liberia and coming to terms with racial inequity here in New York. The Epic Theater Ensemble performed “Nothing About Us,” a show by and about youth of color and the problems many of them face in schools. Parents, students, educators, and advocates gathered in groups to discuss their thoughts and ideas for how to improve educational outcomes. Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza also joined the conversation.
All of the ideas that were discussed will be shared with city and state officials so that they can be integrated into policy. As a next step, we will invite 500 community-based organizations to talk to school leaders in the spring about how we can work together.