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My Brother's Keeper To Provide Mentorship To Young Men Of Color


After more than a year of planning, the city of San Antonio has launched the My Brother’s Keeper program.  The program aims to providing positive role-models to young men of color.

This is the choir at the San Antonio Independent School District's Young Men’s Leadership Academy.  It’s  where the city kicked off My Brother’s keeper on Monday.

Mayor Ivy Taylor says the goal of the program is to keep young men of color on the right track in life.

“We can’t just shrug our shoulders and say ‘Well, they should have done better, they should have pulled themselves up by the boot straps, and their parents shouldn’t have done whatever,’” the mayor said. “Guess what, they didn’t do better, they didn’t pull themselves by the boot straps, their parents didn’t. So, as a community we have to step in because we all have to pay the price for poor outcomes in their (lives).” 

My Brother’s Keeper was started by President Obama who asked cities like San Antonio to organize assistance in their communities.  There’s no federal money.  Instead, local non-profits have united to provide mentors, job training, tutoring and other resources with an emphasis on developing role models who like the young men are people of color.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas. President Denise Barkhurst says her organization works with kids who are facing judges in municipal court and Bexar county probation.

“The places where boys of color are getting in trouble. Now obviously Big Brothers Big Sisters really interested in working with boys before they get to that point but when we’re needed is where we’re going to go.”

The non-profits involved will begin outreach in two zip codes near Harlendale and Sam Houston High Schools. My Brother’s Keeper has six goals to be met by 2020.  Among them, a 90 percent high school graduation rate for the young men involved, and having at least 50 percent of them pursue additional education or training after high school.  Local government numbers show that currently in San Antonio and Bexar County only one-third of men of color between ages 25-35 have college or trade school training .

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules