Mentoring, health equity, violence intervention and second-chance programs were the big topics of discussion at the third annual Greater Austin Area My Brother’s Keeper (GAAMBK) SXSWedu event titled “Connecting Community, Creating Change.”
The event, held on March 9 at the JW Marriot, reflected on the progress that has been made –and areas for growth—since the GAAMBK task force was launched in 2014 when President Barack Obama challenged cities across the nation to close the achievement gap for young boys and men of color.
In partnership with the DDCE, the task force is focusing its efforts on six priority areas. According to the research highlighted by E3 Alliance, the initiative is making some headway in a number of those key areas, especially in mentoring and second-chance programming. Below are a few highlights from the community-wide dialogue. Follow the online conversation for more insights and takeaways: #MBKAustin.
One in three African American males can expect to enter prison at some point during their lifetime. We must not allow this trend to continue, or we risk losing millions of young men who would otherwise grow to become role models for the next generation.
—Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, Vice President of Diversity and Community Engagement at UT Austin and GAAMBK Co-Chair
I know there are a lot of young men out there—so many young hearts and young minds—who are perfectly suited to become leaders in public service.
–Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt
My challenge to all of you is to stay the course, continue to fight racial injustice and have honest conversations about racial disparities.
—Austin Mayor Steve Adler
President Barack Obama has announced and illustrated that his work with My Brother’s Keeper will be one of his most significant signature initiatives of his post-presidency.—Mark Madrid, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, GAAMBK Co-Chair
[On cutting suspension rates by 45 percent] We now listen to understand students, not just respond. Akins High School Principal Brandi Hosack
Black, white, Hispanic, Asian—we’re all unique. And together we should embrace this one principle: I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. Division is a math problem. Let’s just solve it.
—Artist Tyson, Gus Garcia Academy Student
It takes you to decide every day that you’re going to give everything you have to make things right for our kids’ futures, and to not decide to waste an opportunity to make a difference in their lives.
—Cory Redding, NFL veteran, founder of Hearts Outreach Inc., Cory Redding Foundation
We’re not here just talking. We’re actually making a movement right now to impact change – even if it begins with just one person.
—Dr. Ryan Sutton, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Post-doctoral Fellow, Event Coordinator of GAAMBK SXSWedu
For more information about the GAAMBK initiative—or to get involved as a volunteer or mentor—visit www.GAAMBK.org or email MBKAustin@utexas.edu.