SACRAMENTO, Sept. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Under the leadership of USCM President Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the nation's mayors today released the findings of a survey on mayors' efforts to promote and implement the goals of President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Initiative.
The survey report compiles information provided by 15 cities whose mayors are on the Conference's My Brother's Keeper Task Force. It was released during the group's Fall Leadership Meeting in Sacramento, which brought together a bipartisan delegation of mayors from across the country to discuss the organization's policy priorities for the next year.
A summary of the findings was presented by Task Force Co-Chair Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who, along with Birmingham Mayor William Bell, was tapped by President Johnson to lead the Task Force after establishing the subgroup within the organization this past June.
"It is clear that opportunity has lagged behind for young men of color in this country. That's why President Obama launched the My Brother's Keeper initiative earlier this year. He issued a strong call to action to America's leaders to help provide young men of color with the skills they need to reach their full potential," said USCM President Johnson during the meeting. "I am proud that the nation's mayors have responded to the President's call and have already been acting in communities across the country to change the long-term outlook for many of our young people."
Task Force Co-Chair Philadelphia, PA Mayor Nutter said, "As an African American male who grew up in Philadelphia, I am intimately familiar with the challenges that young men of color experience during the course of their lives. I know this initiative has the potential to completely change the direction of many lives that may be headed down a less-desirable path, which is why I am so pleased to serve as the Co-Chair of our mayoral effort to support it."
Birmingham, AL Mayor William Bell, who also serves as a Task Force Co-Chair but was not in Sacramento, said, "I have experienced first-hand the power that young people have to change the world. It is our privilege to serve our youth this way and also lend a hand to President Obama's effort."
USCM Vice President Baltimore, MD Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, "I am encouraged to share how we are working in the City of Baltimore to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable youth. While our efforts are broad and range from ensuring the neediest kids are enrolled in pre-K, to expanding summer programs to reach more of the most vulnerable, to creating work-based learning opportunities and internships for disconnected youth," everything is focused on the same outcome – making sure that young people have the opportunity to succeed and give back to the community that nurtured them."
"The U.S. Conference of Mayors has had a tradition of involvement in key national issues that have grown into pivotal movements over the years," said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. "We know the My Brother's Keeper Initiative will prove the same and we will do all that we can to make it a success."
Survey Findings are as follows:
Role of the Mayor
In every survey city, the mayor is playing a leadership role relating to My Brother's Keeper (MBK).
In 80 percent of the cities, the mayor has designated someone in city government, most frequently an official in the mayor's office, to spearhead its MBK efforts.
In all but one of the cities the Mayor has undertaken activities to educate the public about the challenges facing young men and boys of color.
In all but two of the cities the Mayor has undertaken activities to encourage the involvement of business leaders, community groups, faith leaders and the public at large in MBK efforts.
In 60 percent of the cities, the Mayor has convened a local task force or group representative of different sectors in the city to plan for and implement city efforts relating to MBK.
In 80 percent of the cities, the Mayor has undertaken efforts within city government to focus on and work toward MBK's goals.
Crosscutting Areas of Opportunity for MBK Efforts
In its preliminary report the President's Federal Interagency Task Force identified three cross cutting areas of opportunity for MBK efforts. For these areas:
• Sixty percent of the cities described efforts underway or planned to launch a public-private campaign to actively recruit mentors for youth and improve the quality of mentoring programs.
• Eighty percent described efforts underway or planned to make the status and progress of boys and young men of color and other populations more visible by improving data collection and transparency.
• Eighty percent described efforts to support locally driven efforts that are more comprehensive – addressing the educational, physical, social and emotional needs of young people – and that span multiple life stages from cradle-to-college.
Focus Areas for MBK Activities
The survey cities described a wide range of efforts in the six specific MBK focus areas identified by the interagency task force. For these areas:
• Two-thirds of the cities described efforts in support of "Entering school ready to learn, including efforts relating to increasing access to high-quality pre-K education and eliminating suspensions and expulsions in preschool and other early learning settings."
• Two-thirds described efforts in support of "Reading at grade level by third grade."
• Sixty-four percent described efforts in support of "Graduating from high school ready for college and career."
• Two-thirds described efforts in support of "Completing postsecondary education or training."
• Eighty percent described efforts in support of "Successfully entering the workforce, including efforts relating to increase awareness about youth summer employment and use of pre-apprenticeships as good entry-level jobs."
• Seventy-three percent described efforts in support of "Reducing violence and providing a second chance."
USCM My Brother's Keeper Task Force Members William A. Bell, Mayor of Birmingham, AL -- Task Force Co-Chair Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, PA -- Task Force Co-Chair Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, CA -- USCM President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, MD -- USCM Vice President Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta, GA Martin Walsh, Mayor of Boston, MA Bill Finch, Mayor of Bridgeport, CT Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, SC Aja Brown, Mayor of Compton, CA Annise D. Parker, Mayor of Houston, TX Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis, IN Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, MO Betsy Hodges, Mayor of Minneapolis, MN Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, LA Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of Tacoma, WA
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.