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Houston Unveils Action Plan For White House Initiative ‘My Brother’s Keeper’

City leaders in Houston have launched an action plan for “My Brother’s Keeper” – a nationwide initiative that seeks to improve the lives of boys and young men of color.


Mayor Annise Parker, along with local officials from nearly 100 organizations and institutions, recently gathered in downtown Houston to unveil the city’s strategy for President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper.

Houston’s plan will focus on six key milestones that include college preparation, measures to reduce violence, and expanded entry-level job opportunities.

Each milestone is supported by community partners who’ve committed resources to help implement the plan.

Project coordinator Noel Pinnock says he’s looking forward to helping work groups translate these milestones into action.

“The city of Houston has a vast amount of opportunities to offer its residents,” Pinnock says. “We [have to] ensure that our children have access to those opportunities, in addition to some of the things that we know are precursors to success.”

Back in September, the president issued a ‘call to action’ for cities and towns across the country to identify specific challenges affecting millions of boys and young men of color.

With partners from education, housing, the private sector and law enforcement involved, Project Manager Judy Harris admits there will be some challenges.

“A lot of times what we do in organizations is design programs based on our frame of reference and what we know about the world,” Harris states. “But in order for us to really be successful with these young people and the families that they’re coming from, we have to get in and understand what do they need and how can we give it to them (so) that they can respond to it in a way that’s going to benefit them.”

Statistics reported from “My Brother’s Keeper” of Houston show a real disconnect between the relationship of young black men and those who are in authority.

According to the Houston initiative’s study, black males are twice as likely to be suspended from school for serious offenses as whites.

Black men are also seven times more likely to experience an encounter with law enforcement than white males, the local study reports.

The plan will first be implemented with students of Kashmere, Scarborough and Wheatley High Schools, as well as feeder schools near those selected high school zones.

Pinnock says the initiative’s timeline will be considered a ‘work in progress.’

“This is not a program that will have a start and end date,” Pinnock says. “It’s a cycle. And we want to make certain that we’re able to facilitate the needs of our community, particularly in the feeder patterns that have been identified effectively.”

Houston’s “My Brother’s Keeper” will also develop tracking systems to monitor its progress as well as examine what other local programs and efforts are currently underway.


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Eddie Robinson

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A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus had nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy in 1991, Eddie had an extreme passion...

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