November 4, 2015

My Brother’s Keeper and Efforts to Improve Outcomes for Men and Boys of Color

Education

Michael A. Nutter delivered a press conference on ways to improve the lives of men and boys of color.

Remarks at a press conference discussing initiatives that all fall under the heading of ‘helping men and boys of color’.

In light of the election and because I've been saying for months that ‘we still have work to do’, we have welcomed Broderick Johnson from the White House to talk about our ongoing efforts to improve the lives of black men and boys.

Statistics

Let’s be clear and remember what we're talking about:

- Last year, 248 Philadelphians were murdered on our streets. 40% of homicide victims are young people 24 years old and younger. So on average, about 100 of those 248 murder victims were young people

- Further, about 75% of the homicide victims and 80% of the known perpetrators of violent crime in the City of Philadelphia are young, African-American men.

- In the United States today, on average, one in three African-American men will have contact with the criminal justice system at some point during their lives.

Race and Equity Initiatives

Thanks to President Obama and his commitment to young black men and boys, there is now an-ongoing conversation about race and equity in America happening in cities and towns across the country. And Philadelphia is a part of this conversation on many levels. Let me mention some of the significant programs and entities that are working on these issues:

  • Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program – which we’ll hear more about in a minute
  • Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
  • Mayor’s Commission on African-American Males
  • Cities United
  • Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative
  • Shared Prosperity
  • The Promise Zone
  • Indego – our new equitable Bike Share System
  • and My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Philadelphia

Each of these initiatives is based upon a similar vision—that we must eliminate the disparities in outcomes for our most vulnerable populations if we want everyone to enhance the quality of their lives and succeed.

I’d like to talk a bit more in depth about 2 of these initiatives: the Commission on African-American Males and MBK Philly.

Commission on African-American Males

Last Tuesday, I submitted testimony to Philadelphia City Council in support of legislation which provides for the citizens of this city to approve an amendment to the Home Rule Charter relating to the establishment of a Commission on African-America Males as a permanent body. In 2011, I signed an executive order reestablishing this Commission, first formed under Mayor Goode.

The Commission encourages the development and implementation of policies, programs and practices specifically intended to improve conditions affecting the cultural, social, economic, political, education, health and general well-being of African-American males residing in Philadelphia. The work of the Commission on African-American Males must continue if the City is to make any progress in addressing issues related to unemployment, incarceration, lack of education and health within the African-American male community.

These issues are imperative to the future of our city and cities across the Nation.

My Brother's Keeper Philadelphia

The second program I'd like to talk about is My Brother's Keeper Philadelphia, and we'll hear from Broderick Johnson about the nationwide initiative in just a moment. MBK Philadelphia’s vision is to eliminate the disparities for boys and young men of color because the data points should send a shudder down the back of any resident, business owner or community leader because these are our most vulnerable citizens in terms of access to opportunity.

MBK Philadelphia is a collective that engages and empowers individuals and organizations to take action in dismantling systems of inequality to create measurable change for youth.

I am MBK Philly. We are all MBK Philly. Philadelphia has joined a growing list of cities (such as Boston, San Francisco, and LA) that are part of a racial equity conversation that includes eliminating intended and unintended barriers within city governments.

In December, MBK Philly will host a two-day convening to broaden this conversation in Philadelphia.

  • The first day, Thursday December 17, will be devoted to a workshop for city government employees from Philadelphia as well as members of a burgeoning network of all MBK Challenge Communities across the Commonwealth including – Pittsburgh/Allegheny County, Allentown/Lehigh Valley, Carlisle, Johnstown & Harrisburg. The workshop – called “Advancing Racial Equity: The Role of Government” – will be presented in partnership with MBK Philly Network member the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, and will be facilitated by the Government Alliance on Race & Equity and the Center for Social Inclusion.
  • The second day of the convening, Friday December 18, will be open to everyone interested in this work.
  • We will celebrate the work to reach the MBK Milestones since the MBK Philly action plan was released at the end of March, and we will ceremonially pass MBK onto the Kenney Administration and talk about the work for 2016.

As always, visit the MBK Philly website for more information on the summit – mbkphilly.wordpress.com.

This is not quick or easy work. We have started the ball rolling… but it must continue if we are to see real results.

As Mayor, I have championed this issue because I believe that our City cannot reach its full potential until we address the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens – black men and boys.