Last July I had the pleasure of joining The Council for the Great City Schools in Washington D.C. for President Obama’s town hall where he discussed moving forward with the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. It was the experience of a lifetime, not only because of the event that I was attending, but also because I felt that this was the start to something big.
My Brother’s Keeper is not a new idea. The work behind it is not new. There have been people working in the trenches for decades working on this subject matter. But the modern day civil rights movement does have a new element that is changing the dynamic of the work by the day. People are better connected today than ever before. News travels faster than ever. When Michael Brown was shot dead in the streets the news was a national headline within hours. The power of social media is unharnessed in the hands of a young person with a smartphone. People are better able to document happenings good and bad, and the result has been a revolution.
Social media has also allowed citizens the opportunity to become more organized. For so long organizations have been working in silos. Effective organizations have been able to make an incremental impact on the system. Smaller groups have been able to create micro-movements, but have also been easily labeled as “thugs“, “crazy“, and “radical” for simply challenging the status quo. Social media is changing the landscape of the modern civil rights movement, by challenging society to rethink the labels that we assign people for doing something as simple as demanding to be treated with respect that forms the basis of human discourse.
My Brother’s Keeper is not a big government programming with federal funding and regulatory mandates. My Brother’s Keeper is not a one man show with a hierarchy or someone to be in charge. My Brother’s Keeper is about a movement. It is a movement that asks questions of organizations.
·What are you doing to improve equity in opportunities for young men of color hi have traditionally been left out?
·What is your organization doing to end the disparity in services available to areas with large “minority” populations and socio-economic crisis?
·Are the systems that your organization has in place inadvertently discriminatory against people of color?
My Brother’s Keeper is about bringing together people who have been in the trenches working on this subject matter for decades, breaking them out of their silos, and creating strategic systemic change. This change is not expected to happen overnight, but it should happen with DELIBERATE SPEED. Meaning constant forward movement towards achieving a common goal. It’s about the grown-ups leaving their egos at the door and making things happen for young people. It’s about bringing policy makers together with an active and motivated community, so that policy will begin to be shaped around the will of the community, and give the community ownership of the policy that governs their actions.
I am proud to be involved with this initiative, and I welcome the opportunity to discuss the work that my colleagues and I are doing. I will be blogging more in the future about this work. Please le. t me know if there is anything specific you would like me to discuss.
To learn more about the national effort behind My Brother’s Keeper
To learn more about the FWISD MBK efforts visit our website HERE