Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Where Are the Brothers in My Brothers Keeper

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Where Are the Brothers in "My Brother's Keeper"
My Brother's Keeper Destroys Black Male Mentoring Movement
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Where Are the Brothers
in "My Brother's Keeper"?

Brother Phil You are absolutely correct in your analysis of President Obama's My Brother's Keepers Initiative. Also, as you so candidly indicated, the prestigious University of Chicago has once again co-opted a resource allegedly meant to help young Black males under the pretense of its supposedly academic superiority over grass root groups. However, what ever I can do to expose this debacle - please let me know. Your brother in struggle. -- Useni Eugene Perkins

Why not select a partnership with a combo of HBCUs and U of Chicago? -- Sonnet Bonelli
I support President Obama. However it appears that THIS initiative is absolutely the wrong thing to do. -- Shakira Abdul-Ali
Top down initiatives without participation of those most informed about the issues are a plague on our communities. -- Bob Simpson
I couldn't disagree more! "My brothers keeper" is suppose to start in the neighborhoods were young black men, can motivate other young black men! These grassroots groups sound good in essence but aren't doing anything to quell the violence and mindset of these young black men. Don't knock what the program is, just because it isn't the same old thing that hasn't really yielded any positive results! If all these "grassroots" programs were all that prolific, and successful at actually changing the young men they come in contact with, there would be no need for President Obama to say "knowing how to read is being white, so therefore it is a bad thing to know how to read." -- Frederick Smith
Phil is absolutely correct in his assertion. Back to the drawing board because the program is DOA. -- Wendell JustWimp Mosby

Dr. Phil, I totally agree with your perspective of My Brothers Keepers. Our President who I respect has a great idea/great intentions however the key change makers who clearly not only understand the challenges of our African American boys but who can offer viable solutions are the Grass Root African American mentoring organizations who were not invited to be a voice in the planning and could be excluded from the work implementation. We have a significant amount of research, theories, best practices from many tenured well established mentoring organizations who provide mentoring services all over the country leading My Brothers Keepers however 21st century mentoring requires Grass Root mentoring organizations that look beyond the lens of the obstacles but who have lived or still living in the struggle of thriving as an African American male in America. To go where You have never been, You must do what You have never done. -- Hank Roberts

I would suggest that the "leaders" of all of the grassroots organizations involved in the Black male mentoring movement come together and develop a plan of action to get the attention of President Obama. This can be done through the media if genuine efforts at direct contact with President Obama is not possible. Considering the fact that the Black male mentoring movement has been in existence long before "My Brothers Keeper", I think that the survival of such a movement is worth fighting for. -- Toney Blanks

I believe that MBK is a wonderful initiative created to force people to look at an issue they've been trying to ignore for years. One of the readers pointed out that these grass roots movements will lose momentum and money because of this. It's imply not true. There are currently many organizations that are working in conjunction with MBK to help empower boys and young men of color. The powers that be are deliberately attempting "to dismantle our efforts" to help yourselves? Really? It seems to me that part of the problem is that the structures are only community reach with a few of national reach. The president hasn't taken funding away; he's given national awareness to everyone who is not involved in or has ignored this plight and boldly said, "You can't ignore this situation anymore." -- Laura Anderson

Again, we see the structures that were put in place in the African-American community by the grass root movements being co-opted by the powers that be,in a deliberate attempt to dismantle our efforts in helping ourselves.This should be obvious to our " highly educated " first Black President.The Civil Rights Industrial Complex, that came in to being after the late great Dr. M.L.King Jr., has been destructive enough! For well over 40 years we have allowed a system set in place by politicians and preachers destroy a national grass root coalition in the spirit of the 'ORIGINAL' civil rights movement.Dr.King once asked "How long...", Stand up people,and start dealing with the affairs of men and nations. -- Floyd Davis
I agree with some of what your article wrote, however, having visited a Brother's Keeper program in Indiana I know that they are working with Black American men who have lost their way. Nothing is perfect. Perhaps the answer would be to foster a environment where the smaller mentoring groups could partner with Brothers Keeper? As a single parent of three male children who are not in jail or shooting others I strongly believe that the entire Black community needs to step up to the plate. No one can do everything but together working we can become stronger. Thanks for the article. -- Velvetta
I agree 95%. The program is being created for the next 20-100 years and is not to undermine the present programs. They must keep on. It is like adding the Air Force, to the already established Army. At least in my view. As I have studied it, it has given me a blueprint on how social services need to think and act in the future, national solutions, not just local movements.
Let's do a show on the radio on it. I covered the same thing a few months ago and came to the same conclusion initially, but then I reached out to the White House and some of the planners to get a deeper understanding. -- Tyree Paladon Byndom

Thank you Brother Phillip for being the voice of the Grassroots people. I totally agree with your articulation of the review of My Brother Keeper. I feel the same way. I feel this is totally away to push the grassroots organization out of business from truly saving black men & boys. I hope others grasp on to the plan. -- Casio Batteast
Hotep! Phillip Jackson: Your views are "right on". This is a righteous article, for its righteous indignation at this "Brothers Keepers" operation. Where are the "Brothers" in this "Brothers Keepers". That point you made was justifiable critique. Also the point you made about...where were these people, before the President's contract? Now the question is...how can we force them to "re-work" these resources...to include Black Star Project, 100 Black Men, and other African IN America LED mentoring initiatives? Can we file a lawsuit? -- Mansong Kulubally

I agree with you Phil. But on the flipside, you shouldnt bash this program until we see the result. It sound as though you may have some sour grapes because it specifically affected your organization. That in my opinion very unprofessional of you. Think big picture. If my brothers keeper succeeds, it would surpass your achievements by 1000%. You are a small fish in a big orcean lookin for scraps. Hotep! -- Jim Allen
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'My Brother's Keeper' initiative
is destroying the Black male mentoring movement
By Phillip Jackson
July 25, 2014
The White House's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative is destroying the Black Male Mentoring Movement in America-decades-long work to save Black boys. Virtually all of the small, community-based agencies that comprise this substantial, historic effort to mentor Black boys have been left out of the overall conversation, the planning, and the funding essential to save Black boys and to chart a new course for their continued survival. Many of these groups provided mentoring for Black boys long before President Barack Obama became president and they will be working to save Black boys when he leaves the office.

The White House made a strange decision to allow The University of Chicago to be its lead academic partner in the mentoring of Black boys although no visible plan exists to increase that school's dastardly low Black male student population, which has hovered at about 2 percent for the past fifteen years. The Black males on campus at the University of Chicago have to deal with severe racial profiling from their own campus police, and one Black male student was even put in a choke-hold and "arrested for not properly using the library." Funding the elite, well-healed University of Chicago as the leadership organization for Black male mentoring while ignoring grassroots organizations that have facilitated Black male mentoring programs for decades guarantees that his initiative will fail!

I support President Obama on many things, but I cannot support the "My Brother's Keeper" initiative as operated in its first year. In fact, this initiative has given America the excuse to say, "We gave Black men "My Brother's Keeper;'" what else could Black men possibly want? Most insidious is the fact that corporations and foundations that once funded smaller entities that mentored Black boys, now direct those dollars to "My Brother's Keeper", essentially putting these effective, mostly Black agencies out of business.

Equally appalling is this initiative's lack of grassroots leadership and the underrepresentation of Black organizations and agencies in "My Brother's Keeper." The failure to include these important stakeholders severely undermines the integrity of the initiative. Who are these people rushing to save young Black men and where were they when there was no money to do this important work? To those of us working long before "My Brother's Keeper", the motive remains to save the lives of our children and rebuild our communities-not money or contracts. Now Black-led organizations are being systematically locked out of the process of mentoring Black boys by The White House!

Fact sheets, press releases and photo-ops will not transform the state of Black men in America. Yet these seem to be the initiative's most-used tools. A recent study, also out the University of Chicago claimed there has been little-to-no progress for Black men in America over the past 45 years. The National Assessment of Educational Progress recently reported that only 10 percent of 8th-grade Black boys in America read at or above a proficient level while the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University reported unemployment rates for various age groups of young Black men and teens are two, three and four times that of non-Black age-related groups.

The murder statistics for young Black men, and for Black and Latino children in Chicago, are astounding and some of the highest statistics for any population in the world. President Obama does not have to go far see and understand the magnitude of challenges, on all levels, faced by Black men and boys. He can simply walk down the block on which he lives in Chicago to see the problem-and the solution. The question is, will he!

Where are the "Brothers" in the "My Brother's Keeper" initiative? "My Brother's Keeper" can be a good thing for young Black men in America--just not in its current, shallow iteration. Experienced stakeholders and grassroots leaders need to be a part of this initiative for it to succeed. And this initiative must succeed! It is hypocritical for America to continue to fail/destroy Black men and boys and still consider itself to be one of the greatest, most humanitarian countries in the world.

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You should bring your
12- to 17-year-old girls to hear
about sexual health and
sexually transmitted infections
Sister Yaa Simpson
Yaa Simpson Is a Community Epidemiologist, has an AA in Applied Surgical Technology, a Bachelors in Public Health, a Masters in Public Health and is a Ph.D. student in Epidemiology
Because in Cook County, Illinois (Chicago) in 2011:
  • Two-thirds of reported chlamydia cases were minorities: 50.4% of cases were non-Hispanic Black and 17.1% were Hispanic.
  • Gonorrhea rate in non-Hispanic Blacks was 43 times higher than the gonorrhea rate in non-Hispanic Whites and nearly 15 times higher than the rate in Hispanics.
  • 70% of reported P&S syphilis cases were non-Hispanic Black; 14.3% were non-Hispanic White and 13.2% were Hispanic.
  • The highest rates of gonorrhea were in young women 20- to 24-year old and in young women 15 to 19-years old.
Black people, we have a problem!

Bring Your Girls 12- to 17-Years Old
Thursday, July 31, 2014
6:30 pm, FREE!
The Black Star Project
3509 South King Drive
Chicago, Illinois
These sessions are only open to female attendees and all girls must have parental or guardian approval or a permission slip to participate. Parents should call 773.285.9600 to RSVP for this session or for more information so that their daughters, granddaughters or nieces may attend this session or enroll into our Girls Mentor Program.

Click Here to see the full 2011 Cook County Report on Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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