MBK Alliance hosts summit for boys and young men of color

Young men of color from different Chicago High Schools attended the His Summit, which was hosted by Project SWISH. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MY BROTHER’S KEEPER ALLIANCE.
Young men of color from different Chicago High Schools attended the His Summit, which was hosted by Project SWISH. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MY BROTHER’S KEEPER ALLIANCE.

 MBK Alliance hosts summit for boys and young men of color

By Tia Carol Jones

Jackson Bishop, a senior at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, has been part of My Brother’s Keeper for a year and a half. He was drawn to the organization because of the Brotherhood. He has his sights set on attending Morehouse College in Atlanta. He visited the school and he saw how the students and faculty were like a family, they all knew each other and deeply cared for each other.


“That’s what My Brother’s Keeper is, a bunch of Black men whose only goal is to see each other succeed and I love that,” Bishop said.


Participants of My Brother’s Keeper recently participated in the His Summit, in collaboration with Project SWISH, Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Elite Classic. Participants attended the “Wakanda Forever” Premiere and there was a panel discussion with Chris Crater, Senior Associate of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance; Dr. Abdullah Pratt, an emergency physician; and Dr. Obari Cartman, a psychologist.


“To have both of those brothers there, to be able to not only share their truth and their perspective, but also to engage those young people and ask them what they thought about the movie,” Crater said. “It was really good to have more of a dialogue than a panel discussion.”


My Brother’s Keeper Alliance was founded in 2014 and launched by President Barack Obama. It was a call to action to provide safe and healthy communities for boys and young men of color. There are 250 communities across the country, including Puerto Rico. The MBK Action Team in Chicago is comprised of 40 organizations, doing work with boys and young men of color across the city. Project SWISH is a MBK Affiliate.


“The His summit has really been powerful because it’s been an opportunity to bring schools together across the city, with boys and young men of color, to have those conversations,” Crater said, adding the young men talked about tragedy, teamwork and decision making, which are themes in the movie.


Bishop became part of My Brother’s Keeper through Project SWISH. Bishop introduced McKinley Nelson, founder of Project SWISH, during the event. Bishop, along with the other participants, talked about the issues plaguing the community, how to fix it, and they were able to hear from professionals like Crater, Pratt and Cartman.


“I loved it. It was great, it was a perfect fix of fun, with watching the movie, and some seriousness. We talked about gun violence, why we need to stop it. To be honest, it was a bunch of basketball teams from all across the city, you got Simeon, Whitney Young, Kenwood there, of course on the court we’re all rivals, but in that time period, we came together as like brothers to try to fix this issue,” said Bishop, who wants to study computer science with a focus on cybersecurity.


Crater believes it means everything to have young men access, have exposure and the opportunity to express themselves and talk about what they need; they will be successful. My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is intentional about making sure there are opportunities to lift up the organizations that are doing the work with boys and young men of color.


It was a surreal moment for Crater to be in the room with the boys and young men watching the movie and having the discussion after it.


“This was a powerful, powerful day because so many of those young men expressed how they are dealing with this on a daily basis. They’ve lost loved ones to gun violence. They are at the intersection of trying to change the trajectory of their family’s life, one foot in the classroom and one foot in the community and how do you navigate that space. I think Project Swish and the His Summit created a safe environment to do that,” Crater said.


For more information about Project SWISH, visit projectswishchicago.com. For more information about My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, visit Obama.org/mbka.

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