MBK Alliance and MBK Albuquerque Invest in Youth-led Efforts that Affect Change Across Indian Country
ALBUQUERQUE — My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) hosted its inaugural MBK Alliance Youth Summit: “Empowering & Equipping Tomorrow’s Native Leaders” yesterday, Thursday, April 27, 2017 in collaboration with MBK Albuquerque and the Gathering of Nations Powwow. Nearly 100 Native young men between the ages of 16-25 had the opportunity to engage in youth-led discussions that focused on key issues surrounding the creation of safe and supportive native communities. MBK Alliance is providing MBK Albuquerque with resources to advance and actualize solutions that emerge from these discussions, empowering Native youth to have an active role in the development of their local community.
“MBK Alliance is committed to expanding opportunities for boys and young men of color. During my service in the White House, I often had the opportunity to engage with Native youth at various convenings. They have always been such an important constituency in President Obama’s MBK vision, so it is critical that their voices continue to be heard and elevated,” said Broderick Johnson, MBK Alliance Board Chairman. “Their development and success is a top priority for our organization, and we are excited to move the mark on creating lasting change in both Albuquerque and across Indian country.”
During the MBK Alliance Youth Summit, Native youth were afforded a unique opportunity to discuss challenges, hear success stories and strategize approaches that will help improve the lives of the next generation. The plenary session, moderated by motivational speaker Chance Rush, brought together five Native youth leaders that shared stories of hope, promise and opportunity as they discussed embracing their culture, knowing their value and the importance of self-worth.
“We have the ability to be the positive change within our communities,” said Raina Thiele, Former White House Liaison to American Indians and Alaska Natives. “This is the time to celebrate our identity, embrace our heritage and ensure that our voices are heard in the shaping of our future.”
The subsequent breakout sessions delved even deeper into ideating solutions that increase positive youth development, foster resiliency and promote strong engagement among Native youth. Each young person had the opportunity to discuss challenges, hear success stories, and meet other Native youth who are striving to improve the next generation. At the end of the event, each young person was encouraged to take an active role in creating the change they want to see through MBK Albuquerque.
The City of Albuquerque has vowed to continue to be their allies in this effort. “My administration was an early adopter of the My Brother’s Keeper Communities Challenge from the White House. We have been actively working on creating an environment where young people of color and native youth can thrive in the classroom, at the job site, and in their personal lives,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry. “I am hopeful that this event will increase opportunities for our next generation of leaders.”
Other speakers from the Summit included Fred Vallo Sr., Former Governor of the Pueblo of Acoma; Derek Mathews, Gathering of Nations Founder; and Frank Mirabal, Director of Collective Impact, Office of the Mayor, Albuquerque.
The Summit also served as precursor event to a weekend-long celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the Native community at the Gathering of Nations Powwow.
“We are thrilled to support MBK Alliance and MBK Albuquerque during this important week of the Native calendar,” said Derek Mathews, Gathering of Nations Founder. “There is no better time to discuss how we can ensure our young men meet their fullest potential.”
The MBK Alliance Youth Summit was one of a series of programs that the organization delivers in cities and communities across the country. MBK Alliance will continue to work with MBK Challenge Communities to produce catalyzing events, in the nearly 250 communities that have accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge.
About MBK Alliance:
My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) is an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) born out of President Obama’s call to action to ensure all of our nation’s boys and young men of color (BYMOC) have equal opportunity to live up to their full potential. In order to improve life outcomes, MBK Alliance works to elevate the voices of our nation’s BYMOC and unite business, philanthropy, nonprofit, government, community leaders, and youth to impact lasting social change. This collaborative, cross-sectoral movement led by MBK Alliance helps break down barriers that BYMOC disproportionately face and creates pathways to promising futures. For more information visit, mbkalliance.org or @MBK_Alliance.
About MBK Albuquerque:
The City of Albuquerque was an early adopter of the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge launched in January 2014, calling on the communities across the nation to address the many barriers faced by young men of color and ensure that every young person has an equal opportunity to achieve their dreams. The overarching goal of MBK Albuquerque is to improve conditions within our city that lead to improved life outcomes for young people. We focus our efforts on connecting young men of color to employment opportunities through internships, apprenticeships, skills-based hiring initiatives and job mentorship. MBK Albuquerque also focuses its efforts on family and community engagement in schools, juvenile justice, and mentorship to change life trajectories for young men of color. Visit, cabq.gov.
About Gathering of Nations:
The Gathering of Nations Powwow hosts tens of thousands of people and more than 700 tribes from throughout the United States, Canada and around the world each year. The three-day event includes more than 3,000 Native American Powwow singers and dancers competing for prizes, more than 400 Native American artisans, craftsmen and traders displaying and selling their work, as well as over 30 contemporary indigenous music groups performing on Stage 49. Food vendors in the Native Food Court offer guests a large selection of food choices ranging between southwestern-style cuisine and traditional Native American fare. During the Powwow, a young Native American woman is crowned Miss Indian World and represents all Native and Indigenous people as a cultural goodwill ambassador. For more information visit, gatheringofnations.com.