My Brothers Keeper - MBK
President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.
Montgomery County accepted the President’s MBK community challenge in 2015 & the MBK commitee was formed comprised of public & private agency members as well as community & student leaders. The Collaboration Council is proud to serve as coordinator for this body.
My Brother’s Keeper: in January 2015, County Executive Isiah Leggett accepted the President’s “MBK Community Challenge” calling for citizens across sectors to work with community partners as well as youth and young adults in Montgomery County to design and implement an action plan that will help youth of color. The Collaboration Council answered that call and spearheaded the movement by taking the lead for the local MBK initiative. Under the direction of the Collaboration Council’s Social Justice Director, a committee comprised of citizens from multiple sectors, both public and private was convened.
Convening Partners: The committee boasts representation from public agency members such as the County Executive’s office to participation by the Department of Health and Human Services, Montgomery County Police
Department, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery County Recreation Department, Public Information
Office, and the Office of Community Partnerships. Many youth serving
Community based organizations are represented as well, such as YMCA Youth and Family Services, Identity, LAYC, Pride Youth Services and Lead4Life.
In April 2016, the MBK “Day of Action” was held at Clifton Park Baptist Church in Silver Spring. Speakers ranging from County Councilmember Nancy Navarro to Michael Smith, Senior Advisor to President Obama, spoke about the importance of uplifting communities and youth of color while ensuring their pathways to success are unencumbered by policies or practices within the systems that they interact with as they reach adulthood. The conference was attended by well over 100 people who participated in sessions on topics
such as youth and law enforcement interaction, student engagement, disparities for LGBTQ youth of color and youth alternatives to violence.
Four MBK affinity groups: student engagement, LGBTQ youth, youth and law enforcement and parent engagement committees have been developed. To date, these committees have met numerous times to craft and hone their action steps and advocacy efforts. This past October, the MBK
committee led by high school age youth leaders, who are chairs of the student engagement committee, along with
the MCPD chair of the youth and law enforcement committee debriefed the County Council HHS and ED committees on their efforts and work to date. The work of the student engagement committee has led to the creation of student-focused and led conversations at local high schools on issues of racism, sexism and the creation of safe spaces for students of color. The work of the youth and law enforcement committee has led to the creation of ongoing
youth and law enforcement dialogues with MCPD and Chief Manger at two local high schools, as well as MCPD- sponsored flag football games and ongoing activities with students at two local high schools.
Racial & Ethnic Disparities - DMC
The DMC(Disproportionate Minority Contact) Reduction Committee is comprised of juvenile justice system stakeholders tasked with addressing disparities in treatment and outcomes for youth of color who come into contact with law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
The committee reviews and analyzes policies, practices and programs with a mission to ensure parity for youth of color.
Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Reduction Committee: The DMC Reduction Committee is working to address disparities for youth of color in the juvenile justice system by looking at legislation, policies, decision-making
and resource gaps that can have negative effects on outcomes for youth.
Convening Partners: Montgomery County Police Department, State’s Attorney’s Office, Office of the Public Defender, Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, Juvenile Court, Montgomery County Public Schools, Department of Health and Human Services, Youth-Service Providers, Faith Community, Maryland Juvenile Justice Monitoring Office, Maryland Park Police, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, Commission on Juvenile Justice, and Every Mind, Inc.
The Evening Reporting Center which serves as an alternative to secure detention for youth charged with offenses, continues to flourish under the guidance of Lead4Life Inc. and their programming and efforts.
The ERC served 58 youth with 96% of them completing the program with no new charges filed.
Our CINS Program (Children in Need of Supervision) partnership with Every
Mind Inc. designed to address the needs of children who have contact with the Department of Juvenile Services, served 45 families with 80% completing all program components and activities.
As a result of the Office of Legislative Oversight’s March 2016 report on the “School to Prison Pipeline”, the DMC Reduction committee was tasked with addressing the report’s recommendations, analyzing the rates of suspension and expulsions and returning to the County Council with action items to further reduce the “Pipeline”. Its harmful effect on
students and their long-term positive outcomes are of great concern to many and its eradication will lead to greater opportunities for students who have been adversely affected by it. The committee is working on finalizing its recommendations for action to the County Council and expects to debrief them by the summer of 2017.
Social Justice Director