Wednesday, June 10, 2015
More than 140 people gathered at the Center for Employment Training in San Jose on May 22 to discuss ways that community leaders can work to improve the lives of boys and young men of color, who are less likely to graduate from high school and more likely to be incarcerated during their lifetimes than their peers are.
Those attending the My Brother’s Keeper San Jose summit – which was co-sponsored by San José Mayor Sam Liccardo and SVCF CEO Emmett Carson (pictured above) – represented local government, philanthropic organizations and social service agencies from San Jose and other Bay Area cities.
“MBK San Jose,” as the local effort is known, seeks to advance a coherent cradle-to-college-and-career strategy that improves the life outcomes of all boys and young men of color so they can reach their full potential.
Liccardo noted that educators and policymakers spent a lot of time talking about the achievement gap between young men of color and their peers, but, “It is really a source of moral shame that the reason for the achievement gap is an opportunity gap,” he said.
The day’s discussions featured moving personal stories, including one from Severiano Rodriguez Jr. of the Fatherhood Collaborative. Rodriguez said that drug and alcohol addiction led him to homelessness and incarceration and caused him to lose custody of his daughter. With help from the network that makes up the Fatherhood Collaborative, his life is on track, he regained custody of his daughter and he is now has two grandchildren.
Breakout sessions addressed three issues of importance to the national My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which was launched by President Barack Obama in 2014. They are 1) children’s ability to enter school ready to learn, 2) ensuring children can read proficiently by third grade and 3) preparing young people to enter the workforce successfully.