My Brother’s Keeper challenges young men of color to strive for success

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DENVER -- “It Still Takes A Village.” That was the theme of this year's My Brothers Keeper Summit held at the Community College of Denver on Saturday.

Close to 200 youth and program advocates were on hand to take part in a series of workshops and lectures around the program’s four core areas: Education, juvenile justice, social and emotional well-being and workforce development.

“Since Denver accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge in 2014, hundreds of individuals have been championing the effort to assure that boys and young men of color have everything they need to maximize their potential,” Mayor Michael Hancock said.

For young men such as 17-year old Carlos Rosales, the day was spent learning how to put together a resume, apply for jobs, dress for success and engage with community leaders.

“It’s not that people don’t want opportunities like this. It’s that they don’t see opportunities like this. It’s not even a product of their head you know,” he said.

Rosales said growing up in East Denver presents challenges. Violence and gangs are just a part of everyday life. But hearing from the mayor who once faced the same challenges is motivation to accept those challenges and continue to work harder.

The plan is to walk out of here and say, I’m an employed black man. I’m going to do my best,” Rosales said.

The My Brother’s Keeper Initiative is a national program put forward by President Barack Obama. The initiative was born out of an understanding about the issues facing both boys and men of color and their surrounding ecosystem.

The national initiative is coordinated by the MBK Alliance. Their vision is to make the American Dream available to all boys and young men of color by eliminating gaps in their opportunities and outcomes.