Oakland Host City For President Obama’s Inaugural MBK Rising!

Oakland’s My Brother’s Keeper Coalition Touted as National Model

OAKLAND, CA – Today, the My Brother Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) announced that Oakland will be the host city for MBK Rising!, its first national convening in February 2019. MBK Rising! will bring together the growing network of MBK Communities and boys and young men of color-focused organizations, young men of color, elected officials, and cross-sector leaders to join President Obama in Oakland to celebrate progress, spotlight what’s working, and uplift the voices of youth. My Brother’s Keeper Oakland and My Brother & Sister’s Keeper San Francisco will co-chair the host committee.

“On behalf of the City of Oakland and our tremendous coalition of dedicated partners taking action to ensure that all young people have every opportunity to achieve their dreams, we are honored to have been selected,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “I look forward to welcoming President Obama and young people from around the country to Oakland and making the first-ever MBK Rising! event a great success.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed also expressed her excitement regarding the announcement that the event would be coming to the region: “I’m proud to join Mayor Schaaf in welcoming MBK Rising! to the Bay Area for their first-ever national event. At a time when we are seeing rising division and discrimination across our country, I could not be more excited for our cities to have the opportunity to highlight our efforts to confront structural inequalities and lift up the next generation of African-American leaders.”

Additionally, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance), an initiative of the Obama Foundation, announced that Oakland is among the winners of the inaugural MBK Community Challenge Competition. The Foundation selected 19 organizations across 10 states and Puerto Rico as national models to expand evidence-based initiatives to reduce youth violence, grow effective mentorship programs, and measurably improve the lives of boys and young men of color.

“After an exhaustive application and review process we have identified a cohort of communities and organizations we believe can show the nation what it takes to build safe and supportive communities where boys and young men of color can thrive,” said Michael D. Smith, Executive Director of MBK Alliance and Director of Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundation. “The MBK Alliance team is committed to providing these communities with the tools, support, and access they need to accelerate impact that not only meets urgent needs today but that tackles the systemic barriers that prevent too many of our children from achieving their dreams.”

There are ten winning “National Impact Communities” and nine “Seed Communities.” Oakland’s own Urban Strategies Council was among the distinguished “National Impact” honorees selected.

“I wish to thank Mayor Schaaf for her commitment to Oakland’s boys and men of color (BMOC) and leadership by accepting President Obama’s call to join the My Brother’s Keepers (MBK) partnership,” said David A. Harris, President and CEO of Urban Strategies Council. “Urban Strategies Council is honored to be recognized for convening and coordinating the Oakland-Alameda Alliance for BMOC, engaging over 30 community organizations and key public sector leaders working to advance education, employment and health outcomes for BMOC. We are eager to showcase how President Obama’s investment in the MBK initiative compliments our community’s long-standing work with BMOC, and positions us for greater community impact.”

MBK Rising! is by invitation only, but interested young men and practitioners working to address aligned issues can review application information here:

Registration for the event opens on Wednesday, December 5.

Read the full release from the MBK Alliance / Obama Foundation regarding this announcement:

Background: President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper in February 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and to ensure all youth can reach their full potential. In 2015 the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) was launched, inspired by My Brother’s Keeper, to scale and sustain the mission. In late 2017, MBK Alliance became an initiative of the Obama Foundation. Within the Obama Foundation, MBK Alliance leads a cross-sector national call to action focused on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.

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