Bronx Campus Welcomes Local High School Students for “My Brother’s Keeper” Townhall

The staff and faculty of Monroe were very proud to welcome 200 young men from local high schools to our Bronx campus today for “My Brother’s Keeper:  Changing the Narrative,” a two-hour male empowerment townhall.

Led by President Marc Jerome and Michael Blake, our Visiting Social Justice and Civics Fellow, the event held on the Bronx campus reflected the work and values of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) program created in 2014 by then-President Barack Obama to address persistent opportunity gaps facing young men of color. Mr. Blake had been instrumental in MBK’s launch, having served as an aide to President Obama at the time.

Messrs. Jerome and Blake were joined by guest speakers Dr. Anael Alston, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Access, Equity, and Community Engagement in the New York State Education Department; George Patterson, Senior Director with the New York City Department of Education with oversight for its My Brother’s Keeper program; and Jordan Stockdale, Executive Director of The Young Men's Initiative.

Nearly 200 high school juniors and seniors from one dozen NYC high schools attended this morning’s townhall, which began with a rousing tribute from the College’s marching band. The students then heard powerful messages from the panel on the importance of standing up to injustice and being a force for positive change within their communities. Inspirational words on academic excellence, personal accountability, character, and leadership were also emphasized.

“I am extraordinarily grateful to our amazing guest speakers and to the phenomenal students who attended this morning for making this townhall so impactful,” said President Jerome. “This was just our first step as we work to establish our own My Brother’s Keeper chapter on campus so that the work started here today may long continue.”

Compelling data on higher education outcomes was shared during a presentation on improving college access and opportunity for Black and Hispanic students. The data, compiled from publicly available information on the College Scorecard and IPEDs, the database managed by U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, show that college completion rates are far too low for people of color. 

President Jerome noted:  “There’s a lot of attention and energy focused on improving college access, especially for historically under-served and under-represented student groups – and that’s very important. However, we must also look at how many are completing their programs. The data is very telling. As a country, we must do better for these students.”