On July 26 to 28, the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in partnership with the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA) hosted a My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Regional Summit (Summit) at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach, the first held outside of the White House.
“In Long Beach, we have seen the youth engaged with programs like My Brother’s Keeper learn and grow,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. We know that when the community stands together and embraces the youth of tomorrow, we are fostering the leaders of tomorrow.”
The Summit brought together more than 40 MBK Challenge Communities in the West Coast and Southwest, providing a work space that fosters peer-to-peer opportunities and integration with national experts, with the ultimate goal of establishing regional networks and designing tangible next steps that advance equity and opportunities for boys and young men of color.
“The synergy at this conference was amazing,” said Vice Mayor Rex Richardson. “As the first convening of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, backed by the newly formed Obama Foundation, I trust that we will be able to continue this important work and make a difference in the lives of boys and men of color in our city and all over the nation.”
The Summit was centered on youth and young men of color, and attendees were primarily leadership teams that comprise the MBKA Challenge communities in each region and the broader eco-system of stakeholders who have a big role advancing the MBKA mission.
“The integration of Safe Long Beach and the City’s equity efforts into the Health and Human Services Department provides us with the opportunity to lead MBK Long Beach from a health and racial equity framework,” said DHHS Director Kelly Colopy, “Our new Office of Equity and our Health Department team look forward to ensuring that MBK Long Beach-related work will result in Long Beach being a model city for best practices and policies that create a national conversation in health and racial equity for all youth, including boys and young men of color.”
Two and a half days of interactive programming culminated in a youth and arts night at the Museum of Latin American Arts (MOLAA) that featured performances by the Cabrillo High School Steel Drum Band, spoken word poetry, and performances from MBK Long Beach stakeholders as well as other MBKA Challenge Community Youth, along with networking for Summit attendees, community partners, and stakeholders.
MBK Long Beach presented its current work on the MBK Implementation Plan that is based on the 2016 MBK Action Plan, which highlighted the citywide collaborative efforts to address the barriers and challenges facing boys and young men of color and their families.
The results and information collected from the Summit will be shared amongst the wider MBKA Challenge Communities for deepening the work for greater and sustainable impact.
Key sponsors of the Summit include: The California Endowment, California Funders for Boys & Men of Color, City of Long Beach, PolicyLink, City of Albuquerque, Cities United, Casey Family Programs, Bloomberg Associates, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, and Campaign for Black Male Achievement.
Former President Barack Obama launched the MBK Initiative in January 2014, and Long Beach joined the challenge a year later as part of its violence prevention plan, Safe Long Beach. Vice Mayor Richardson and Councilmembers Lena Gonzalez, Roberto Uranga and Al Austin sponsored an item that the City Council adopted in January 2015, making Long Beach one of 200 cities nationwide to support the former president’s community challenge.About Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, which allows for better engagement with residents, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and fosters a greater understanding of the City's strengths. For more information, visit us at www.longbeach.gov/health
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