I was pleased with the progress we made at the My Brother's Keeper Local Action Summit, held recently at the United Way of Dane County. As you may know, the My Brother's Keeper project is a challenge issued to municipalities by President Barack Obama focused on opening opportunities and eliminating barriers to achievement for boys and young men of color. The summit brought together a diverse group of community leaders from areas including law enforcement, the school district, businesses, and faith organizations.
The leaders divided into six different groups, matching their community work with one of the six focus areas of the My Brother's Keeper project. The six focus areas are: entering school ready to learn, reading at grade level by third grade, graduating from high school ready for college and career, completing post-secondary education or training, successfully entering the workforce, and reducing violence and providing a second chance. In their groups, the leaders were challenged to identify the barriers to achievement in each of these areas and to come up with workable strategies to eliminate them.
I participated in the group focused on reading at grade level by third grade. The discussions on these sensitive subjects were honest, stimulating, and thought-provoking. By the end, each group selected two barriers as the most problematic and developed additional strategies with these specific barriers in mind.
With the completion of the Local Action Summit we move into stage three of the initiative. Stage three includes the development of a plan of action tailored to eliminate the two selected barriers as well as the creation of a data collection system to track our progress. Stay tuned!