Event Focused on Collaboration, Inspiration, and Innovation to 

Enhance Achievement for Young Men of Color

On Juneteenth, Yonkers Public Schools hosted dozens of students, families, educators, and community members for its inaugural My Brother’s Keeper Summit, a first-of-its-kind event that built on the school district’s growing national reputation for successfully supporting young men of color with educational and professional accomplishments. 

Last year, the Obama Foundation recognized Yonkers as an MBK Model community, one of four in the nation. This distinction was awarded due to Yonkers’ significant impact on graduation rates for young men of color. 

This year’s Summit, timed to coincide with Juneteenth celebrations, included the district’s new Superintendent, Aníbal Soler, Jr., who has launched and supported My Brother’s Keeper chapters throughout his career. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano addressed the crowd during the opening ceremony, while Yonkers police commissioner Christopher Sapienza and Yonkers Department of Public Works commissioner Thomas G Meier were present. Dr. Robert Fergus, a professor at Rutgers University and former member of the Yonkers Board of Education, served as a special moderator.

“Events like these are not just gatherings; they are critical for the empowerment and advancement of our young men of color,”said Superintendent Soler. “Our mission is to create a continuum of support that starts with school readiness and extends through high school graduation and beyond, ensuring our students are prepared for college, careers, and civic life.” 

The summit provided a platform for reflection, learning, and action to further support young men of color in Yonkers. Following opening remarks by Superintendent Soler and a panel discussion featuring MBK alumni and current students, MBK Yonkers Executive Director Jason Baez addressed the attendees. They then  had the opportunity to attend breakout sessions aligned with MBK’s six key life milestones:

  1. Entering school ready to learn
  2. Reading at grade level by third grade
  3. Graduating from high school
  4. Completing postsecondary education or training
  5. All youth out of school are employed
  6. All youth remain safe from violent crime