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Mayor Martin J. Walsh Hosts 'My Brother's Keeper' Community Summit

December 6, 2014

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh hosted a major local action summit to engage the community in the development and shaping of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Initiative in Boston.  During the summit, Mayor Walsh welcomed Michael Smith, Special Assistant to the President on My Brother’s Keeper.  The MBK Boston Community Summit took place at the James P. Timilty Middle School in Roxbury. 

"I’m committed to building a citywide movement to close opportunity gaps in Boston and set a new standard for inclusion and equity in America,” said Mayor Walsh. “This summit brought together the community of advocates, policymakers, and concerned residents who are passionate about improving outcomes for boys and men of color in Boston. I was thrilled to welcome Michael Smith from the White House. His participation recognizes our leadership in the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and boosts all the work we are doing to eliminate disparities in education, health, and economic opportunity."

“President Obama understands that outside of family, nothing shapes young people’s lives, aspirations, and opportunities quite as powerfully as the communities where they live, learn and grow. Boston is full of people who have overcome significant obstacles, achieved great success and proven where you start doesn't have to determine where you end up," said Smith. “But no young person should have to overcome such obstacles alone. That’s why the MBK Community Challenge exists, to bring together everyday citizens with government, nonprofits, schools and business to take concrete steps in communities across the country that we know can work to reduce barriers and help our youth make good choices, learn to be resilient in the face of challenges, and most importantly, achieve their dreams. We applaud Mayor Walsh for his leadership to make My Brother’s Keeper a reality in Boston.”

Building on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper national initiative, Mayor Walsh established the MBK Boston Advisory Committee in September 2014, and is actively engaging the community to promote positive outcomes for all youth, especially Black and Latino boys and young men. Recognizing the challenges facing Black and Latino males in Boston, the City has adopted a mission for My Brother’s Keeper that reaches Black and Latino males at the earliest age in a child’s life through adulthood.  The MBK Boston Advisory Committee helped to also develop sub-committees focusing on eight key areas including Civic Engagement, Education, Business Development, Workforce Development, Human Services, Public Health, Public Safety, and Youth Employment. 

Today’s MBK community action summit attracted residents and community stakeholders from government, academia, the private and public sectors, clergy, families and neighborhoods.  Breakout sessions were facilitated to develop recommendations across the eight focus areas to identify strategies to close opportunity gaps and strengthen outcomes for all residents, especially Black and Latino boys and men, to achieve their full potential.

This MBK Boston Community Summit is part of the Walsh Administration’s overall efforts to support the success of MBK locally and also foster inclusion and diversity throughout the City of Boston. Since establishing the MBK Boston Advisory Committee in September 2014, Mayor Walsh also:

  • Accepted the President’s MBK Community Challenge, intended to build a community of partners and stakeholders, conduct a policy review and form recommendations for action in early 2015 followed by an action plan.
  • Announced plans for the Mayor’s Mentoring Movement, an initiative in collaboration with Mass Mentoring Partnership to recruit 1,000 new caring adult mentors for Boston’s youth. The initiative will be formally launched in January 2015, National Mentoring Month. Interested individuals can express interest now by completing a brief survey provided by the Mass Mentoring Partnership.
  • Launched the formation of a new Office of Financial Empowerment, a collaborative effort to allow the City and its partners to better address poverty and income inequality in Boston.  The launch of this new office is part of the Mayor’s pledge to tackle systemic inequality in Boston, an overarching theme of My Brother’s Keeper and a major initiative through his work as Vice-Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Cities of Opportunity Task Force.
  • Joined the Boston Public Schools for the release of the research report titled “Opportunity and Equity: Enrollment and Outcomes of Black and Latino Males in Boston Public Schools” followed by a MBK Community Forum, both featured events of the city’s first MBK Community Summit.
  • Announced the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Diversity, appointing the City’s first-ever Chief Diversity Officer, dedicated to providing strategic leadership to the Mayor’s diversity agenda.  One of the Chief Diversity Officer’s first initiatives will be leading a Diversity and Inclusion Team.
  • Announced that Boston was selected as one of 35 cities from around the world to be invited to join the 100 Resilient Cities Network, a project of the Rockefeller Foundation.  As part of the scope of the prestigious award, Boston will bring on a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), tapped to create a dialogue around Boston’s segregated past, the impacts that linger today, and finding ways for the City to become more equitable.

To learn more about My Brother’s Keeper in Boston visit: www.boston.gov/mbk. For more details on the President’s national initiative in support of My Brother’s Keeper, visit www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper.