Last week, My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Alliance at the Obama Foundation launched the MBK Network, a new learning community and support system for MBK leaders that will provide support, resources, and opportunities to build on local success and create lasting change.
This week, the National League of Cities (NLC) is excited to announce our partnership with the MBK Alliance. Through our Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) initiative, NLC provides ongoing assistance, including webinars, that will equip you with some of the tools and information needed to strengthen the MBK foundation in your community.
Every day, leaders like you are working to create safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color. Both the Obama Foundation and NLC are committed to supporting you—to strengthening the network of community leaders engaged in this work.
We encourage you to take the first step and register to join the Network today. You can click here to fill out the registration form, which should only take about 15 minutes to complete.
Last year, the National League of Cities (NLC) Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) initiative released the report The City Leader’s Compass to the My Brother’s Keeper Landscape, a comprehensive set of tangible steps cities can take to change systems and improve outcomes for boys and men of color.
City leaders can use their spheres of influence and power to ensure the systemic and long-term success for boys and men of color. They can raise the level of awareness and prioritize city resources to help address the disparities that impact our various communities.
As a caveat, many cities tend to focus heavily on programming for boys and men of color, rather than on the municipal policies, practices and procedures that impact their daily environments. Though programmatic responses can be useful, they are often short-term and narrow fixes that are usually dependent on funding. While they might satisfy constituents, many programs—even the effective ones—are rarely scaled or appropriately measured.
Without city leaders spending time to address environmental factors (housing, safety, health, employment, economic development), desired outcomes will be realized only by a small number— boys and men of color fortunate enough to be involved in select community programs offered by nonprofits and municipal agencies.
Ultimately, city leaders have a larger role to play to ensure that systems and policies provide equitable opportunities for boys and men of color to succeed.
As your city begins or continues its journey through the MBK landscape, this guide will be an effective compass and ongoing reference tool as you consider actions to improve outcomes for boys and men of color. It is important to remember that a city leader’s unique opportunity is in taking policy action to undo the systems that create the barriers to success that boys and men of color face daily.
We look forward to supporting your city on its journey through the MBK landscape, which will improve the lives of boys and men of color and their communities for generations to come. Register to join the MBK Network today: https://www.obama.org/mbka/network/
About the author: Leon T. Andrews, Jr., is the Director of the Race, Equity And Leadership (REAL) initiative at the National League of Cities.