Lansing marks progress toward fulfilling White House youth initiative

Oct 19, 2015

Lansing is one of about 200 cities that's taken up the White House's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative. We talk about the future of the My Brother's Keeper program in Lansing with Angela Waters Austin, director of the non-profit group One Love Global, and Men Making a Difference founder Andrew Brewer.

In early 2014, the Obama Administration launched “My Brother’s Keeper,” a multi-faceted program that supports the nation’s youth, particularly young boys of color. Some 200 communities accepted the president’s challenge, including Lansing. Now, local organizers are celebrating their recent achievements and beginning a new phase of their outreach.

Key members of My Brother’s Keeper in Lansing will meet this evening at Lansing City Hall to talk about their plans, including a new mentoring program.

Current State speaks with Angela Waters Austin, director of the group One Love Global, and Andrew Brewer, founder of Men Making A Difference in Lansing.


  How did Lansing form its own My Brother’s Keeper group?

  You had some [initiatives] that were focused on programs really geared towards children of color and engaging communities of color. And for us, it was an opportunity for us to look at all of the assets we had and mobilize them and bring them together in a way that it was easy for us to develop an action strategy that become our My Brother’s Keeper initiative. It wasn’t reinventing the wheel. But really coalescing that great work that had already been moving in our community.

  What progress has been made with the My Brother’s Keeper initiative in Lansing within the past year?

  We’ve had over 100 organizations and leaders step up to the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ challenge in our community. Over the past year, the Lansing School Board accepted the challenge. Later in the summer of this year, the Ingham County Board of Commissioners accepted the challenge. So we are now a regional My Brother’s Keeper effort. So that’s really been the big push for us over the last year is just continuing to mobilize our resources because we came to the table with a plan.

  How long will the My Brother’s Keeper initiative continue in the Lansing community?

  Well the idea is that you’re changing systems and policies so it never really goes away. The idea for our community is closing gaps across milestone and that’s what My Brother’s Keeper is really based on, milestones that start with being ready for school and ultimately moving into success in the workforce and eliminating all the barriers around violence and making sure that young people get a second chance when they do come in contact with the court. It’s our police chief, our superintendent, it’s our mayor, it’s our community and faith based organization. We’ve got private, public, faith, community, parents, youth really driving this effort and it’s really taken a year to even mobilize to this point.