In January 2019, The Brotherhood, a non-profit that has been changing lives for young men of color in Cherry Creek School District, explored the idea of leading the Obama Foundation's My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge at the state level in Colorado. Over the last year, the organization realized that there are many existing but incomplete approaches to the systemic challenges faced by Black youth. From community and stakeholder research and feedback, there has been abundant talk about Black and Brown youth “failure,” but a limited commitment to interrupting the long-term systems of inequity across the course of life. According to an I-News report, "Health data and justice records examined also revealed disparities. Similar racial and ethnic inequities appear nationwide. However, one glaring fact about Colorado is that it went from a state that was by most measures more equitable than the national average, in the first decades covered by the analysis, to one that is less so now. Health data and justice figures examined as part of the analysis also show disparities” (I-News, 2013). Nationally, achievement rates for minorities have always been low. In contrast, Colorado started with reasonable statistics, and those statistics have declined, putting Colorado in a unique position when analyzing the reasons for inequalities among racial groups.
The Colorado Paradox details how Colorado is attracting educated people from all over the United States with a high-paying, high-level education job market and at the same time failing to offer economic opportunity to Colorado residents. It estimates that by 2020, 75% of Colorado jobs will require an advanced degree, yet it fails to put its Black and Brown high school students in a position to qualify for those jobs in the future (DeRuy 2016). According to the article, "Right now, half of the adults from out-of-town in Denver, the state's largest city, have a college degree. However, less than a third of the city's adults born in Colorado can say the same, and that statistic is even worse for people of color" (DeRuy 2016). In Denver, 75% of the children enrolled in public schools are people of color (DeRuy 2016). While gentrification has increased the number of white students, the achievement gap between whites and minorities has become more significant.
There is a need for a more dramatic approach in Colorado to disrupt the outcomes and transform lives for the Black community. MBSKCO will create a shared vision, mission, and goals that are aligned by result-based initiatives and strategic resource allocation between sectors; Targeted collaboration will see Colorado double the number of African American youth thriving and achieving success as innovative and effective change-makers and eventually eliminate the opportunity gap for Black youth in our state.
The Brotherhood works closely with local schools, universities, and organizations to close the achievement gap, advance the economy and culture of Colorado’s African American community.Learn More