SXSWedu Community Dialogue

Austin Aligns for Boys and Young Men of Color

Use hashtag #AustinMBK to see the online conversation about the DDCE’s SXSWedu panel on how the city of Austin and UT are taking steps toward fulfilling the goals of President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

A city-wide conversation about President Obama’s initiative, My Brother’s Keeper

One year ago, President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper and challenged every city and county to address the significant challenges that young men of color face. Shortly following the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s national initiative, we gathered Austin educators, city government officials, philanthropists, community and non-profit leaders into one room for a dynamic discussion on the lives of our city’s boys and young men of color. This community dialogue, “Austin Aligns for Boys and Young Men of Color: A City-wide Conversation about President Obama’s Initiative, My Brother’s Keeper”, was co-sponsored by Austin Community College, Austin Independent School District, Huston-Tillotson University, KLRU-TV, the Mayor of the City of Austin, and The University of Texas at Austin. At the event, we discussed how Austin is working to address these challenges; to discover what gaps still exist locally; and to explore how our city, community, organizations, and schools can align and leverage resources to serve this population. This was a step in the right direction towards community-wide collaboration and alignment for Austin’s young men, and we will continue to move forward.

Read the report on the proceedings from this SXSWedu Community Dialogue.

Roundtable Discussion Format

Roundtable participants had 35-40 minutes to discuss two common questions (15-20 minutes per question). Scribes at each table culled participants’ ideas into summaries, and highlights from these summaries have been posted below. The table participants discussed these questions from the perspective of their organization, but also from their own personal perspective of what they see and perceive happening in Austin.

Question #1: Austin and My Brother’s Keeper (15-20 minutes)

In September 2014, President Obama issued a challenge to cities, towns, counties and tribes across the country to become “MBK Communities.” The MBK Community Challenge encourages communities (cities, rural municipalities, and tribal nations) to implement a coherent cradle-to-college-and-career strategy for improving the life outcomes of all young people to ensure that they can reach their full potential, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances into which they are born.

The six goals of the My Brother’s Keeper challenge are:

  1. To ensure all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally ready
  2. To ensure all children read at grade level by 3rd grade
  3. To ensure all youth graduate from high school
  4. To ensure all youth complete post-secondary education or training
  5. To ensure all youth out of school are employed
  6. To ensure all youth remain safe from violent crime

Of these national goals, which of these seem most relevant to Austin? What issues relevant to Austin’s young men of color are missing from this list?


Question #2: Leveraging Austin’s Programs and Resources (15-20 minutes)

What are promising programs and initiatives of your organization (or others) that currently support boys and young men of color in Austin? What other resources can Austin leverage in order to maximize their impact? What gaps still exist for Austin’s boys and young men of color, and how can we address these gaps?


Co-sponsored by Austin Community College, Austin Independent School District, Huston-Tillotson University, KLRU-TV, the Mayor of the City of Austin, and The University of Texas at Austin